SAN FRANCISCO - Three suspected members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) street gang have been indicted on federal charges of conspiring to commit murder in the aid of racketeering for allegedly gunning down a Bay Area man last year near a Daly City, Calif., bus stop.
Davie Jimmy Mejia-Sensente, (a/k/a "Crazy," a/k/a "Loco"), 26, of Daly City; Carlos Mejia-Quintanilla, (a/k/a "Wilfredo Oliva-Castro," a/k/a "Sleepy," a/k/a "Dormido"), 21, of San Francisco; and Luis Amilar-Zanas (a/k/a "Luis Sana," a/k/a "Trucha," a/k/a "Yomo"), 32, of San Francisco, are charged with conspiracy to commit murder, and murder, in the aid of racketeering activity; carrying and using a firearm during a crime of violence; as well as aiding and abetting. The charges are the result of a 10-month investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Daly City Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California.
The indictment alleges Mejia-Sensente, Mejia-Quintanilla and Amilar-Zanas were members of MS-13, a transnational criminal organization which has a presence in several Central American countries and here in the United States. According to the indictment, MS-13 operates as a racketeering enterprise engaged in crimes that include murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and obstruction of justice. It is alleged all three defendants conspired to kill actual and suspected members of other gangs, as well as individuals suspected of cooperating with law enforcement.
According to the indictment, the three defendants shot and killed a Daly City man near a local bus stop on June 21, 2010. The victim, who suffered a gunshot wound to the head, was pronounced dead at the scene. The indictment alleges the defendants committed the murder to gain entry into or increase their standing with the MS-13 gang. According to the indictment, such acts of violence increase the level of respect accorded to a member of the gang.
"These charges are a direct result of extraordinary teamwork involving ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and local law enforcement to break this challenging case," said Shane Folden, acting special agent in charge for ICE HSI in San Francisco. "As a result of our collaboration, three suspected gang members are facing justice for a senseless killing and we're sending a message about our shared resolve to stop the scourge of violence and crime being perpetrated by street gangs here in the Bay Area."
The indictment alleges that MS-13 is a street gang affiliated with so-called Surenos (or Southerners). The Surenos generally include gang members born outside the United States who acknowledge the primacy of the Mexican Mafia prison gang. The indictment alleges MS-13's principal rivals in the Bay Area are the Nortenos (or Northerners). The Nortenos generally encompass gang members born in the United States who acknowledge the primacy of the Nuestra Familia prison gang.
According to the indictment, one of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members "hunt" - that is, attack and kill - Nortenos and other rivals whenever possible. The indictment specifically alleges that all three defendants conspired to kill actual and suspected members of other gangs.
All three defendants were already in custody on other charges. Mejia-Sensente is currently being held on a pending charge of being an illegal alien in possession of ammunition. His next scheduled appearance in that case is May 11 in federal court in San Francisco. Mejia-Quintanilla is in state custody in San Mateo County on charges stemming from the same incident. Amilar-Zanas is in custody in federal court in the Eastern District of New York on a charge of illegal reentry following deportation.
Several of the counts in the indictment carry a possible penalty of death or life in prison. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. sentencing guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence.