United States Flag
Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security

Report Crimes: Email or Call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE

Transnational Gangs
08/08/2011

5 'Sur-13' gang members sentenced for crime spree

Weekend-long robbery and assault binge spanned 5 counties

ATLANTA — Five "Sur-13"gang members from Georgia were sentenced Monday to lengthy federal prison terms after being arrested for carjacking and firearms offenses by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations.

All five pleaded guilty to the charges on Dec. 15, 2010: Pedro Barrera-Perez, 30, of Stone Mountain, Ga.; Gloria Galvan, 21, of Jonesboro, Ga.; Irma Ovalles, 21, of Stone Mountain; Jerry Arriaga, 22, of Austell, Ga.; and Francisco Arrellano, 20, of Lithia Springs, Ga.

Barrera-Perez was sentenced to 24 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. He was also ordered by the court to pay $19,272 in restitution to the victims of his crimes. He pleaded to one count of armed robbery of a grocery store, four counts of carjacking or attempted carjacking, and one count of discharging a firearm during one of the carjackings.

Galvan was sentenced to 21 years and six months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. She was also ordered by the court to pay $19,272 in restitution to the victims of her crimes. She pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery of a grocery store, four counts of carjacking or attempted carjacking, and one count of discharging a firearm during one of the carjackings.

Ovalles was sentenced to 19 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. She was also ordered by the court to pay $19,272 in restitution to the victims of her crimes. She pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery of a grocery store, four counts of carjacking or attempted carjacking, and one count of discharging a firearm during one of the carjackings.

Arriaga was sentenced to 16 years and six months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. He was also ordered by the court to pay $11,767 in restitution to the victims of his crimes. He pleaded guilty to one count of carjacking, one count of attempted carjacking and one count of discharging a firearm during one of the carjackings.

Arrellano was sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. He was also ordered by the court to pay $2,267 in restitution to the victims of his crimes. He pleaded guilty to one count of attempted carjacking and one count of discharging a firearm during one of the carjackings.

"These sentences should serve as a stern warning to gang members whose actions breed fear and violence in our communities," said Brock Nicholson, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Atlanta. "By partnering with other law enforcement agencies, we are successfully targeting these gangs, arresting their leaders, disrupting their operations, and putting their members and associates behind bars."

"Gang crime strikes a particular fear in communities because of its unpredictable and violent nature," said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates for the Northern District of Georgia. "These gang members went on a weekend-long, armed robbery crime spree that spread across metro Atlanta, and included at least seven carjackings or attempted carjackings, the robbery of a small grocery store, and several pedestrian robberies. Because of the violent nature of these carjackings and physical assaults, each of these defendants will now be confined to federal prison for at least a dozen years, and for some, much more."

Each of those sentenced in this case is a member of the street gang SUR-13, or Sureños-13. Their weekend crime spree spanned the Metro Atlanta area, including robberies in Clayton, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties. The first robbery occurred on Dec.12, 2008, when several defendants, wielding baseball bats and a gun, robbed a small Mexican grocery store using a stolen car. From there, these defendants beat a man and attempted to carjack his truck. In quick succession, all defendants, now bearing an AK-47 and other firearms, carjacked or attempted to carjack six other vehicles. During one attempted carjacking, a child was hit in the mouth with a baseball bat and, when the carjacking failed, the defendants, fleeing the scene, fired an AK-47 at the victim family. Their carjacking spree only ended when, during a police chase, the defendants rolled the carjacked truck that they were all in, and one of the gang members, a minor, was killed. The gang members who were minors were prosecuted for carjacking by the Fulton County District Attorney's Office.

"Although both federal and state prosecutors have made great strides in combating gangs and the violence they inflict on our community, criminal gang activity is still prevalent throughout Fulton County," said Paul Howard, Fulton County District Attorney. "SUR-13 is a large, violent gang known for crime sprees like the one prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office. Fulton County is a safer place now that several of these violent gang members are behind bars where they belong. We are grateful to the federal authorities for their continued work to ensure a safer Fulton County."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim S. Dammers prosecuted the case.