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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 13, 2014

Three Alleged Gang Members Charged With July 2014 Murder

SAN FRANCISCO – Miguel Ortiz, Antonio Castillo, and Marvin Cortez were arraigned in federal court this morning after being arrested yesterday on charges that included racketeering conspiracy, firearms violations, and the commission of a July 19, 2014, gang-related murder in San Francisco, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag, Tatum King, Acting Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Francisco, and Police Chief Gregory P. Suhr of the San Francisco Police Department.

These charges were part of a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury on Nov. 6, 2014, which the court unsealed earlier today.

According to the superseding indictment, Ortiz, 27, of San Francisco, Castillo, 26, of San Bruno, and Cortez, 24, of San Francisco, conspired to conduct the affairs of the 19th Street Sureños street gang through a pattern of racketeering activity that included murder, drug trafficking, witness tampering and obstruction of justice. The 19th Street Sureños is a Hispanic street gang that claimed part of the Mission District of San Francisco as its territory. As a Sureño gang, the 19th Street Sureños warred against rival gangs, notably the various Norteño gangs in San Francisco.

In addition to conspiring to conduct the affairs of the 19th Street Sureños, all three defendants are also charged with conspiring to commit murder in aid of racketeering; conspiring to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering; committing a gang-related murder on July 19, 2014; possessing, carrying, and using a firearm in furtherance of or during and in relation to a crime of violence; and using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in murder.

The superseding indictment also sets forth the various racketeering and firearms charges, originally returned by the grand jury on March 6, 2014, against fourteen other members of the 19th Street Sureños criminal enterprise.

The investigation of Ortiz, Castillo, and Cortez involved officers and agents from the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Homicide Detail, the SFPD Gang Task Force, and the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations.

Ortiz, Castillo and Cortez and made their initial appearances before the Honorable Jacqueline Scott Corley, United States Magistrate Court Judge, today. All three are currently in custody pending a detention hearing. They are scheduled to appear for an ID of Counsel hearing before the Honorable Jacqueline S. Corley, United States Magistrate Court Judge, on Nov. 20, 2014.

The maximum statutory penalty for each of the charged offenses is:

  • racketeering conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1962(d): life imprisonment, five years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000; and restitution, if appropriate;
  • murder in aid of racketeering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1959(a)(1): death or life imprisonment; a fine of $250,000; and restitution if appropriate;
  • possessing, carrying and using a firearm in furtherance of, or during and in relation to, a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A): life imprisonment; five years of supervised release; a fine of $250,000;
  • possessing, carrying and using a firearm in furtherance of, or during and in relation to, a crime of violence, resulting in murder, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(j)(1): death or life imprisonment; a fine of $250,000; and restitution if appropriate;
  • conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1959(a)(5): 10 years imprisonment; three years of supervised release; a fine of $250,000; and restitution if appropriate;
  • conspiracy to commit assault with a deadly weapon in aid of racketeering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1959(a)(6): 3 years imprisonment; one year of supervised release; a fine of $250,000; and restitution if appropriate;

However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Andrew M. Scoble, Kimberly Hopkins, and Laurie K. Gray are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Christine Tian and Ponly Tu. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by HSI and the SFPD.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations and, as with all defendants, Miguel Ortiz, Antonio Castillo, and Marvin Cortez must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

(19th Sureños superseding indictment )

 

 

Updated November 18, 2014