SAN JOSE – Victor Manuel Rodriguez, a/k/a "Silencer," was sentenced today to 38 years in prison for Racketeering Conspiracy, including conspiracy to commit murder, Possession/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, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson.
Rodriguez, 26, of San Jose, Calif., pleaded guilty on March 26, 2014.
According to court records Rodriguez is a member of the Varrio Tami Lee Gangsters (VTG), a Sureño street gang in San Jose. Members of the VTG gang are allied with members of another Sureño gang in San Jose, Varrio Colonias Trece (Colonias). The united Colonias/VTG Gang engage in crimes such as robbery, narcotics trafficking, and murder. Among other acts of violence, members of the Colonias/VTG Gang sought to attack and kill members of rival Norteño gangs.
On the afternoon of August 13, 2012, on Denair Avenue in the vicinity of Letitia Street in San Jose, Rodriguez and his co-defendant Jose Farias Barahas, a/k/a “Oso,” a Colonias gang member, were in a car “hunting” for rival Norteño gang members in retaliation for Norteño spray painted graffiti in the Colonias/VTG Gang’s territory. Rodriguez spotted a young Hispanic man that he did not know standing in a driveway and believed the young man was a Norteño based on his appearance. Rodriguez directed Barahas to turn the car around and pull up next to the young man. Rodriguez exited the vehicle carrying a loaded .38 caliber revolver and fired two shots at the victim at close range, striking him once in the head. The victim, who died two days later, was not a Norteño gang member. Rather, he was simply standing alone in his own driveway after having just arrived home with his girlfriend from the veterinarian where they had taken their sick dog.
“While this sentence cannot relieve the pain and loss suffered by the victim’s family, it is my hope that it will at least lend them some measure of comfort, knowing that one of the perpetrators of this crime will spend over three decades in jail,” said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. “This office will devote as many resources as necessary to partner with local and federal law enforcement agencies which are tirelessly working to rid this community of the senseless violence perpetrated by gang members.”
“The suppression of gang violence continues to be a top priority for the FBI. In coordination with our state and local partners, we hope to continue efforts to dampen and eventually eradicate gang violence in our neighborhoods, “ said SAC David Johnson. “Today’s sentencing reinforces the impact our justice system can have on helping to bring closure to those effected by violent acts.”
The Honorable Edward J. Davila, United States District Court Judge, handed down the sentence of 38 years in prison for Rodriguez. Co-defendant Barahas has also pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Davila on March 26, 2015. Both defendants have been in custody since their arrest on October 3, 2012.
Stephen Meyer and Daniel Kaleba are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of paralegal Nina Burney. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI and the San Jose Police Department.