Skip to main content
Press Release

MS-13 member who shot and killed suspected rival gang member, threatened witness/victim at federal courthouse sentenced to 30 years in prison

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

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A defendant known as “Shadow” was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to 30 years in prison for participating in a racketeering conspiracy and murder through the use of a firearm during a crime of violence.


Jose Mendez-Peraza, 38, of Columbus, pleaded guilty in October 2019 and accepted responsibility for his involvement as a shooter in the December 2016 murder of Salvador Martinez-Diaz, a suspected 18th Street gang member.


On Dec. 3, 2016, co-conspirators waited in the parking lot of the Resolute Athletic Complex in Columbus where the victim was playing soccer. Others, including Mendez-Peraza, wore dark ski masks and waited for Martinez-Diaz near his apartment building at Melroy Ave. and Kelburn Road in Columbus.


When the victim arrived near his home, Mendez-Peraza and another MS-13 member opened fire on Martinez-Diaz with pistols, shooting him multiple times and killing him.


Mendez-Peraza also threatened a witness/victim in this case while at the Joseph P. Kinneary United States Courthouse in Columbus. Mendez-Peraza told the witness/victim that MS-13 members would kill the individual and his/her family if the individual cooperated with law enforcement.


Mendez-Peraza 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.


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 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.


# # #

Updated March 12, 2020

Violent Crime