Assistant U.S. Attorneys Todd Robinson (619) 546-7994 and Kareem Salem (619) 546-8904
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – August 5, 2019
SAN DIEGO – Jose Hernandez, aka “Chapo,” a member of the Otay River Bottom Locos gang, was sentenced today in federal court to 30 years in prison for his aggravated role in a drug distribution conspiracy as well as his participation in an attempted armed robbery ordered by the Mexican Mafia.
The charges stem from an investigation by the FBI-led Violent Crimes Task Force, Gang Group (VCTF-GG) into drug trafficking, firearms and violent crimes being committed by certain gang members and their associates in San Diego.
“This sentence is a big win for public safety,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “This defendant, a violent drug trafficker and gang member, will be unable to menace the community for decades to come.” The U.S. attorney praised prosecutors Kareem Salem and Todd Robinson as well as the FBI and members of the Violent Crimes Task force-Gang Group for their hard work.
“This significant 30-year sentence sends a message that the FBI and its partner agencies on the Violent Crimes Task Force-Gang Group will relentlessly pursue gang members involved in violent crime, firearms offenses and drug trafficking,” said FBI SAC Scott Brunner. “Cases like this one, focusing on dangerous gang members, deter and reduce gang-related violence and drug trafficking in Southern California. We thank all the federal, state, and local agencies that participated in this long term investigation and are proud to share the success and impactful results with our partners.”
The defendant was convicted by a federal jury on May 21, 2019 (18cr3424-LAB) of being a felon in possession of a firearm; attempting to commit a Hobbs Act Robbery; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. He pleaded guilty on May 9, 2019 (18cr4217) to one count of conspiring with others to distribute over 50 grams of methamphetamine.
According to evidence presented at trial, agents intercepted communications of the defendant and two of his co-defendants who discussed their intention to commit an armed robbery and assault on behalf of the Mexican Mafia. In response, San Diego Police Department Gang Suppression Officers stopped the vehicle in which Jose Hernandez was the front passenger as they drove to their intended victim. Ultimately, officers recovered four firearms, 56 rounds of ammunition and zip ties, which officers believe were for restraining the intended victim.
In addition to his role in the attempted robbery, the defendant was sentenced for his role, organization, and distribution of multiple pounds of methamphetamine.
Intercepted communications also revealed that the defendant was engaged in the distribution of methamphetamine to several customers, including an individual who on two occasions flew from Florida to purchase pounds of methamphetamine from the defendant. But for the quick response from members of the VCTF-GG, pounds of methamphetamine, which were packaged and shipped via the United States Postal Service, would have found its way to drug users in the Florida area.
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Felon in Possession of a Firearm, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 922(g)
Maximum Penalty: Ten years in prison
Attempted Hobbs Act Robbery, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1951
Maximum Penalty: Twenty years in prison
Possession of firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 924(c)
Maximum Penalty: Five years mandatory minimum in prison
Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. Sections 841 (a)(1) and 846
Maximum Penalty: Up to life in prison; Ten year mandatory minimum
DEFENDANT Case Numbers: 18CR3424-LAB & 18CR4217-LAB
Jose Hernandez Age: 38 San Diego
Violent Crimes Gang Task Force
Task Force agencies include:
FBI, ATF, DEA, BOP, USPIS, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, San Diego District Attorney's Office, San Diego Police Department, San Diego Sheriff's Department, National City Police Department, Chula Vista Police Department, La Mesa Police Department, El Cajon Police Department and Federal Bureau of Prisons- Joint Intelligence Sharing Initiative.