The Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, is a destructive agricultural pest with a long history of invasion success. This pest has been affecting different regions of the United States for the past 30 years, but a number of studies of medfly bioinfestations has focused on the situation in California. Although some progress has been made in terms of establishing the origin of infestations, the overall status of this pest in this area remains controversial. Specifically, do flies captured over the years represent independent infestations or the persistence of a resident population? We present an effort to answer this question based on the use of multilocus genotyping. Ten microsatellite loci were used to analyse 109 medflies captured in several infestations within California between 1992 and 1998. Using these same markers, 242 medflies from regions of the world having 'established' populations of this pest including Hawaii, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina and Peru, were also analysed. Although phylogenetic analysis, amova analysis, the IMMANC assignment test and geneclass exclusion test analysis suggest that some of the medflies captured in California are derived from independent invasion events, analysis of specimens from the Los Angeles basin provides support for the hypothesis that an endemic population, probably derived from Guatemala, has been established.