San Francisco’s MS-13 Gang Trial

The largest gang trial in San Francisco’s federal court in years has seven defendants accused of four murders in 2008, assaults and extortion as part of an alleged racketeering conspiracy in city neighborhoods.

The MS-13 gang is described by the government as an international gang that began in El Salvador but now exists in more than a dozen countries.  The current case grew out of an investigation called “Operation Devil Horns.”  It included 29 defendants, with 13 still awaiting trial. 

The current trial began April 4 and is likely to last six months.  Trial Insider will provide live tweets of significant witnesses as the case proceeds.

The government alleges that beginning in the 1990s the gang used intimidation to control its Mission District turf.  The indictment says they engaged in drug dealing, attacked rival gang members and extorted money from drug dealers and those selling phony documents to immigrants. 

In July 2008 the gang is accused of shooting 30-year-old Armando Estrada of Rodeo, Calif., because he refused to pay MS-13 so that he could sell fake documents in their territory 

Five gang members pled guilty in January to a variety of crimes including racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering and use of a firearm.

Case: U.S. v. Cerna, No. CR08-730WHA

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