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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 13, 2020

17 Alleged Members And Associates Of MS-13 In San Francisco Charged Federally With Racketeering Conspiracy, Attempted Murder, Assault, And Weapons Charges

SAN FRANCISCO- A federal grand jury indicted 17 Bay Area residents for a broad range of racketeering crimes including RICO conspiracy, attempted murder, and assault, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Tatum King.  The Superseding Indictment handed down February 18, 2020 and unsealed today catalogues a litany of crimes allegedly perpetrated in and around the Mission District of San Francisco.

“San Francisco continues to suffer from gang violence and gang claims on our public spaces,” said U.S. Attorney Anderson.  “I am grateful to the men and women of Homeland Security Investigations and the San Francisco Police Department for their professionalism and teamwork. San Francisco is safer when we all work together.  We will oppose gang activity with professional law enforcement and vigorous prosecutions.” 

“MS-13 gang members prey upon the communities they live in, committing the most heinous violent acts against their victims. The streets of San Francisco and the surrounding communities are safer when criminal gang members are held to account for their crimes,” said Special Agent In Charge King. “I’m proud of our agents’ exhaustive investigative work, together with the San Francisco Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in bringing these subjects to justice. We also appreciate the law enforcement assistance with yesterday’s successful criminal arrests provided by the South San Francisco Police Department, the Mountain View Police Department and the San Mateo County Gang Intelligence Unit.”

According to the superseding indictment, the defendants were members of the transnational criminal organization MS-13.  MS-13 operates in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and at least 20 states in the United States.  The superseding indictment describes how the 20th Street clique of MS-13 relies on crime to operate, including to avoid detection by law enforcement, to initiate new recruits, to enhance the reputation of the gang and individual gang members, to maintain control of drug distribution channels, and to intimidate people who might testify against or otherwise defy the gang. 

In this case, the superseding indictment alleges 14 of the defendants conspired to engage in racketeering for the purpose of preserving the power, territory, reputation, and profits of the local MS-13 clique, known as MS-13 20th Street.  The superseding indictment describes how MS-13 20th Street members bear tattoos, wear certain colors, and display gang signs to demonstrate allegiance to the clique.  Also described in the superseding indictment is how the gang seeks to maintain control of drug “turf” by relying on robbery, extortion, and other violent crimes, including stabbings and shootings. 

Listed in the superseding indictment are dates on which particular defendants allegedly committed crimes to further the purposes of the gang.  For example, the superseding indictment alleges that, on September 16, 2016, defendants Alexis Cruz Zepeda, a/k/a Zorro, and Kevin Reyes Melendez, a/k/a Neutron, fired shots at a suspected gang rival.  Cruz Zepeda and Reyes Melendez then fled the scene in a vehicle allegedly driven by Ronaldy Dominguez, a/k/a “Smokey,” who, after a high-speed chase, evaded police by driving the wrong way down the Vermont Street off ramp of Highway 101.  The victim suffered five gunshot entry and exit wounds but survived.  Similarly, the superseding indictment alleges that, on November 26, 2017, when MS-13 gang members attempted to extort cash and drugs from street dealers, defendant Elmer Rodriguez, a/k/a Gordo, shot a victim in the chest at close range with a 12-gauge shotgun.  Documents filed by the government in the case include a memorandum arguing that the violent nature of the alleged crimes should be considered when the court makes decisions regarding pre-trial detention.  The government’s filings include surveillance footage allegedly depicting an attack described in paragraph 26 of the superseding indictment.  The video of the incident can be viewed at the following link: https://youtu.be/waUtxpqZEGM

In all, the superseding indictment charges 10 crimes of violence allegedly perpetrated by the defendants.  The charges pending against each defendant are as follows:

Defendant

Age

Charges

Maximum Statutory Penalty

ROGELIO BELLOSO ALEMAN

a/k/a “Smiley”

26

Racketeering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

EDWIN ALVARADO AMAYA

a/k/a “Muerte”

22

Racketeering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

Life in prison

Fine of $250,000

Attempted Murder in Aid of Racketeering

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(5) and 2

10 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

FERNANDO ROMERO BONILLA

a/k/a “Black”

22

Racketeering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

KENNETH CAMPOS,

a/k/a “Nesio”

30

Racketeering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering (two counts)

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

EVERT

GALDAMEZ

CISNEROS

a/k/a “Talentoso”

22

Racketeering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

 

 

LUIS VELIS DIAZ

a/k/a “Popa”

21

Racketeering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

RONALDY DOMINGUEZ,

a/k/a “Smokey”

 

24

Racketeering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

Life in prison

Fine of $250,000

Attempted Murder in Aid of Racketeering

18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5) and 2

10 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering (two counts)

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

OSCAR ESPINAL

a/k/a “Chuy”

29

Racketeering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

Life in prison

Fine of $250,000

Attempted Murder in Aid of Racketeering

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(5) and 2

10 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

WILFREDO IRAHETA LANDAVERDE

a/k/a “Wally”

20

Racketeering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

KEVIN REYES MELENDEZ

a/k/a “Neutron”

26

Racketeering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

Life in prison

Fine of $250,000

Attempted Murder in Aid of Racketeering

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(5) and 2

10 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

Discharge of a Firearm During and in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence

18 U.S.C. § 924(c)

Life in prison

(Mandatory minimum of 5 years (7 years if brandished, 10 years if discharged))

Fine of $250,000

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

MISSAEL MENDOZA

19

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering (two counts)

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

CHRISTIAN QUINTANILLA

19

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering (two counts)

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

 

ELMER RODRIGUEZ

a/k/a “Gordo”

30

Racketeering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

Life in prison

Fine of $250,000

Attempted Murder in Aid of Racketeering

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(5) and 2

10 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

Discharge of a Firearm During and in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence

18 U.S.C. § 924(c)

Life in prison

(Mandatory minimum of 5 years (7 years if brandished, 10 years if discharged)

Fine of $250,000

MARVIN OSEGUEDA SARAVIA

a/k/a “Chiquis”

19

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering (two counts)

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2

 

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

 

KEVIN RAMIREZ VALENCIA     

a/k/a “Delincuente”

22

Racketeering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

ALEXIS

CRUZ

ZEPEDA

a/k/a “Zorro”

26

Racketeering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

Life in prison

Fine of $250,000

Attempted Murder in Aid of Racketeering

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(5) and 2

10 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

Discharge of a Firearm During and in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence

18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)

Life in prison

(Mandatory minimum of 5 years (7 years if brandished, 10 years if discharged))

Fine of $250,000

KEVIN GUATEMALA ZEPEDA

a/k/a “Mision”

23

Racketeering Conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering

18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(a)(3) and 2

20 years in prison

Fine of $250,000

The court also may order additional terms of supervised release, fines, and restitution.  Nevertheless, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553. 

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

The defendants are scheduled to make initial federal court appearances before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley today at 11:30 a.m.

This case is being prosecuted by the Organized Crime Strike Force of the Office of the United States Attorney.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by HSI and the San Francisco Police Department. 

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated March 13, 2020