SAN JOSE – Jose Farias Barajas, a/k/a "Bear," was sentenced today to 28 years in federal prison for his part in a racketeering conspiracy and other crimes announced Acting United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson. The sentence follows a guilty plea in which Barajas acknowledged his guilt relating to several gang-related crimes including robbery, narcotics trafficking, and murder.
Barajas, 25, of San Jose, is a member of the Varrio Colonias Trece (Colonias), a Sureño street gang in San Jose. According to court records, members of the Colonias gang are allied with members of another Sureño gang in San Jose, Varrio Tamilee Gangsters (“VTG”). On March 20, 2014, Barajas pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, possession and use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in murder, and distribution of methamphetamine. As part of his plea agreement, Barajas acknowledged his participation in Colonias/VTG gang activity including attacks on members of rival Norteño gangs.
Also as part of his plea agreement, Barajas acknowledged the facts underlying the killing on August 13, 2012, of an innocent victim. Barajas and a codefendant, Victor Manuel Rodriguez, a/k/a “Silencer,” were in a car “hunting” for rival Norteño gang members. The codefendants were retaliating because someone had spray painted graffiti in the Colonias/VTG Gang’s territory. According to court documents:
In carrying out this RICO conspiracy, in August 2013, defendant Barajas drove co-defendant Rodriguez around hunting for rival Norteños who had been spray painting their gang graffiti on the defendants’ gang’s turf. Barajas knew that Rodriguez was armed with a .38 caliber revolver. Upon seeing [the victim], the defendants thought he was a Norteño and Rodriguez directed Barajas to make a U-turn, which he did. Barajas then stopped the car right in front of [the victim’s] driveway, and Rodriguez exited the car, pulled out the .38 caliber revolver that he had been carrying on his person, and shot [the victim] once in the head at close range. After shooting the victim in the head, Rodriguez reentered Barajas’s car and laughed about the shooting.
The victim died two days later. The investigation revealed that he was not in fact a Norteño gang member. The victim had just arrived home with his girlfriend from the veterinarian where they had taken their sick dog.
The Honorable Edward J. Davila, United States District Judge, handed down the sentence. Rodriguez was previously sentenced to 38 years in prison. Both defendants have been in custody since their arrest on October 3, 2012.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen Meyer and Daniel Kaleba prosecuted the case with the assistance of paralegal Nina Burney. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the San Jose Police Department.