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Press Release

Mexican Mafia Associate Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – November 13, 2023

SAN DIEGO – Juan Castro of San Diego was sentenced today in federal court to 10 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release for selling 109 grams of methamphetamine to a cooperating individual. 

A government memorandum submitted for Castro’s sentencing described him as a high-ranking member of the San Ysidro (or “Sidro”) street gang and an associate of the Mexican Mafia. Castro oversaw day-to-day operations for Sidro which included collecting payments in exchange for allowing others to commit crimes in the San Ysidro area. The payments, or taxes, were then distributed to high-ranking Mexican Mafia members. In sentencing Castro, U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns called him a “hand puppet for the Mexican Mafia.”

Castro was apprehended after a long-term investigation by the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force and Gang Group.

DEFENDANT                                               Case Number 23-cr-00371-LAB                                        

Juan Castro                                                     Age: 38                       San Diego, CA


Distribution of Methamphetamine – Title 21, U.S.C., Section 841(a)(1)

Maximum penalty: Forty years in prison, with a mandatory minimum of five years, and $5 million fine


Federal Bureau of Investigation – Violent Crimes Task Force – Gang Group (VCTF-GG), which currently includes investigators from the following agencies:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • San Diego Police Department
  • Homeland Security Investigations
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
  • California Department of Corrections
  • San Diego County Sheriff’s Department
  • Chula Vista Police Department
  • National City Police Department

Although not currently part of VCTF-GG, during the investigation of this case, VCTF-GG also included investigators from the following:

  • Bureau of Prisons
  • San Diego District Attorney’s Office of Investigations





Media Relations Director Kelly Thornton (619) 546-9726 or

Updated November 13, 2023

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: CAS23-1113-Castro