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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

Thursday, January 16, 2020

MS-13 defendant sentenced to 35 years in prison for directly participating in three homicides in aid of racketeering

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A defendant in the MS-13 racketeering case was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to 420 months in prison for his involvement in multiple homicides, including the murder of a former confidential informant.


Juan Jose Jimenez-Montufar (also known as Chele Trece), 35, of Columbus, pleaded guilty in August 2019. He admitted to his involvement in multiple homicides, including the 2006 murder of a confidential informant who was working with law enforcement agencies in the Columbus area.


Jimenez-Montufar is one of 23 individuals charged in a second superseding indictment in February 2018 who are alleged to be members and associates of MS-13 in Columbus.

The defendants are charged in a racketeering conspiracy, which includes five murders as well as attempted murder, extortion, money laundering, drug trafficking, assault, obstruction of justice, witness intimidation, weapons offenses and immigration-related violations.

The second superseding indictment alleges that the defendants committed a host of overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy, including: 1) the December 2006 murder of Jose Mendez, a confidential informant, in Perry County; 2) the November 2008 murder of Ramon Ramos on Lockbourne Road in Columbus; 3) the mid-2015 murder of Carlos Serrano-Ramos, a suspected rival gang member, near Innis Road in Columbus; 4) the November 2015 murder of Wilson Villeda near Innis Road in Columbus; and 5) the December 2016 murder of Salvador Martinez-Diaz, a suspected rival gang member, on Melroy Avenue in Columbus.

As part of his August guilty plea, Jimenez-Montufar admitted to shooting and killing Jose Mendez in 2006. At that time, Mendez was a confidential informant working with law enforcement agencies in the Columbus area. In December 2006, Jimenez-Montufar and other MS-13 members drove Mendez to a remote location east of Columbus to murder him. Jimenez-Montufar shot Mendez in the head and left his body in Perry County.

Jimenez-Montufar also participated in other homicides, assaulted victims, set fire to an extortion victim’s car, and took part in drug trafficking, extortion and money laundering.

David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Chris Hoffman, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; Rebecca Adducci, Detroit Field Office Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations; Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin and Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan announced the sentence imposed today by U.S. District Court Judge Edmund A Sargus, Jr. Deputy Criminal Chief Brian J. Martinez and Assistant United States Attorney Noah R. Litton are representing the United States in this case.


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Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Updated January 16, 2020