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February 22, 2015San Francisco, CAUnited StatesTransnational Gangs

Bay Area gang member extradited from Mexico to face murder charges

SAN FRANCISCO — A documented member of the Mara Salvatruch (MS-13) street gang appeared in federal court Monday to face murder and racketeering charges following his extradition from Mexico, the result of an extensive probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the San Francisco and the Daly City police departments.

Jamie Balam, aka Tweety, was indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2012 on allegations he conspired to conduct the affairs of MS-13 through a pattern of racketeering activity that included murder, attempted murder, and other acts of violence.

The indictment also charges Balam with the Feb. 19, 2009, gang-related racketeering murder of a victim in Daly City, as well as three attempted racketeering murders arising from the same incident, and firearms-related offenses.

“This successful extradition culminates years of outstanding investigative work by our federal law enforcement partners with Homeland Security Investigations, and illustrates the lengths to which we will go to pursue justice for victims,” stated United States Attorney Melinda Haag.

Balam was arrested in October 2013 in Mexico and was ordered extradited to the U.S. earlier this month. The 2012 indictment and Balam’s extradition stem from the government’s efforts to investigate and prosecute MS-13 transnational gang members operating in the Bay Area.

“As this case makes clear, we will not allow our borders to be barriers to bringing accused violent criminals to justice,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Tatum King. “In addition to the tireless efforts by HSI special agents in the Bay Area and Mexico City, we also owe a tremendous debt to authorities in Mexico, whose cooperation was vital to assuring this defendant’s return. HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement counterparts in Mexico to assure the safety of law-abiding citizens in both nations.”

“We are happy to see that Mr. Balam was brought back to the U.S. for prosecution in this case,” stated John Gamez, Captain, Daly City Police Department. “This brings a long awaited closure to the innocent victims and their families. This investigation was an example of cooperation between federal and local law enforcement and we appreciate the help we received from the special agents with HSI. Mr. Balam learned that justice was not swift in this case, but it was relentless.”

Updated: 02/25/2015