Members Of The Varrio South Park Gang Charged With Racketeering Conspiracy, Attempted Murder, Robbery, And Narcotics Trafficking
SAN FRANCISCO – A seventeen-count federal indictment charging eight members and associates of the Varrio South Park (“VSP”) gang was returned by the Grand Jury on December 10, 2013 and unsealed today in federal court, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag.
Three defendants were arrested last night during a joint law enforcement operation in Sonoma County, California. Four additional defendants were already in state custody and have been transferred to federal custody to face charges. One defendant is being sought. The defendants in custody were arraigned before The Honorable Maria-Elena James, United States Chief Magistrate Judge this morning.
Of the eight defendants named in the indictment, seven — David Martinez; Edmund Deneiliom; Ruben Quiroz; Cesar Castellanos; Lucio Mendoza; Samuel Tewolde; and Kalin Carell — are charged with racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, and conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, arising from their participation in the VSP gang. These seven defendants are also charged with using firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence. According to the indictment, VSP is a racketeering enterprise and its members and associates agreed to conduct the affairs of the enterprise through, among other crimes, narcotics trafficking, witness intimidation, robbery, and murder.
Two of the defendants – David Martinez and Ruben Quiroz – are also charged with conspiracy to commit a robbery affecting interstate commerce and a robbery affecting interstate commerce arising from an August 19, 2013, robbery and high-speed car chase during which Martinez fired shots at the victim’s vehicle.
Two other defendants – Samuel Tewolde and Cesar Castellanos – are each charged with separate counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering. The attempted murder charge against Tewolde arises from an incident on September 5, 2013, in the parking lot of a restaurant in downtown Santa Rosa, where Tewolde fired shots at an individual whom he believed to have “snitched” against other members of VSP. Casetellanos’s attempted murder charge arises from an incident on October 9, 2012, where he shot and wounded a fellow gang member whom Castellanos believed to have challenged his status and authority within the gang. Castellanos is also charged with one count of witness tampering for threatening to kill a woman to prevent her ex-boyfriend from testifying against Tewolde.
Defendants David Martinez and Edmund Deneiliom are also charged with trafficking methamphetamine and marijuana. Defendant Edmund Deneiliom and Andrew Hill-Piccola are also charged with being felons in possession of firearms.
The maximum possible punishments faced by each defendant are as follows:
- David Martinez, a/k/a “Oso,” a/k/a “Fat Boy,” a/k/a “Big Homie” – Life
- Edmund Deneiliom, a/k/a “EZ” – Life
- Ruben Quiroz – Life
- Cesar Castellanos, a/k/a “Cheese” – Life
- Lucio Mendoza, a/k/a “Juce” – Life
- Samuel Tewolde – Life
- Kalin Carell – Life
- Andrew Hill-Piccola – 10 years
Any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the United States Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).
Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Luskey and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Price Wolf are prosecuting these cases with the assistance of Kevin Costello and Daniel Charlier-Smith. This prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the California Highway Patrol, the Santa Rosa Police Department, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office, the Sonoma County Sherriff’s Office, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, the defendants in this case must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.