Ten alleged members of the Sureños gang have been charged for their roles in seven killings, accused by prosecutors of engaging in a criminal enterprise that targeted suspected rivals and sought to maintain control of drug sales in San Francisco's Mission District.
According to a grand jury indictment, the men have been longtime members of two closely affiliated gangs, the 19th Street Sureños and the 16th Street Sureños. The dead include suspected gang rivals, including a 16-year-old fatally shot at a birthday party in the East Bay city of Richmond in 2009; some suspected rivals have been left paralyzed after being shot.
The indictment alleged that members of the 19th Street/16th Street Sureños gang commit strong-arm robberies and assaults and "engage in violence together to defend their collective territory against rival gangs." The drugs allegedly sold by some of the defendants include crack cocaine, cocaine powder and heroin.
The charges followed an investigation that included the U.S. attorney's office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations arm and the San Francisco Police Department.
"It is a priority of this office to prosecute gangs for the violence that can tear apart our community," Alex Tse, the acting U.S. attorney in San Francisco, said in a statement. "This operation is proof that we will use the full power of law enforcement to uphold justice for the victims of violent crime."
Several of the shootings detailed in court records occurred on 24th Street within half a mile of San Francisco General Hospital, including a drive-by in 2007 and a double homicide in 2008.
In one case, the indictment alleged, several homes in the area of 24th and Harrison streets were hit when one defendant fired shots at two suspected rival gang members in 2011, wounding one.
The seven slayings occurred between 2006 and 2013. Of the defendants, nine are accused of murder, among other charges; a tenth is accused of conspiracy to commit murder.
According to the indictment, the allied gangs claim a nearly 3-square-mile area between 16th Street and 19th Street and between Dolores Street to the west and Folsom Street to the east, as well as Mission Dolores Park and Franklin Square Park.
Members of the 19th Street and 16th Street Sureños gangs are mostly born in San Francisco, but according to the court records "Sureño gang members generally have roots in Southern California or Latin America, and they recognize the primacy of the Mexican Mafia prison gang."
Their chief rivals are various Norteños gangs, whose members "generally have roots in Northern California, tend to be more racially and ethnically diverse, and recognize the primacy of the Nuestra Familia prison gang," the indictment said.
Among the accusations listed in the indictment:
- Jonathan Aguilar, 31, and Michael Rebolledo, 30, are accused of murdering two people believed to be rival gang members in 2006 and participating in a drive-by shooting in 2007; Rebolledo, a leader of the 16th Street Sureño gang, is also accused of joining gang members in planning the shooting of rivals in a manner that resulted in the murder of a third person.
- Luis Cid-Salinas, 33, is accused of aiding fellow gang members in hunts for rivals, which resulted in the deaths of two people in separate incidents.
- Juan Carlos Gallardo, 29, is accused of fatally shooting a 16-year-old suspected gang rival at the birthday party in Richmond.
- Luis Rojas, 31, and Eddy Urbina, 29, are accused of fatally shooting two suspected rival gang members in retaliation for the slaying of a fellow gang member earlier in the day. Josue Gonzalez, 36, is accused of being the getaway driver and of taking steps to conceal his participation in the double homicide.
- Orlando Carlos Hernandez, 35, and Weston Venegas, 30, are accused of helping each other and Cid-Salinas in a hunt for rivals that resulted in a murder.
- Mario Reyes, 38, is accused of conspiracy to commit murder.
The grand jury indictment was filed on March 20 and unsealed Friday following the arrest of six defendants. A seventh was taken into custody from Santa Clara County Jail; the remaining three had been in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.