San Francisco, California - Three alleged members of the 19th Street Sureños street gang were arraigned in federal court Thursday on murder, racketeering and firearms charges following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations and the San Francisco Police Department into a gang-related killing that occurred in July.
Miguel Ortiz, 27, of San Francisco; Antonio Castillo, 26, of San Bruno; and Marvin Cortez, 24, of San Francisco were arrested Wednesday on charges detailed in a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury earlier this month, which was unsealed Thursday. The defendants appeared in court Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Jacqueline Scott Corley. All three are currently in custody pending a detention hearing.
According to the indictment, the three men conspired to conduct the affairs of the 19th Street Sureños street gang through a pattern of racketeering activity that included murder, drug trafficking, witness tampering and obstruction of justice. The 19th Street Sureños is a Hispanic street gang that claimed part of San Francisco's Mission District as its territory. As a Sureño gang, the 19th Street Sureños warred against rival gangs, notably the various Norteño gangs in the Bay Area.
In addition to conspiring to conduct the affairs of the 19th Street Sureños, all three defendants are also charged with conspiring to commit murder in aid of racketeering; conspiring to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering; committing a gang-related murder on July 19, 2014; possessing, carrying, and using a firearm in furtherance of or during and in relation to a crime of violence; and using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in murder.
The superseding indictment details the various racketeering and firearms charges, originally returned by the grand jury on March 6, 2014, against 14 other members of the 19th Street Sureños gang.
Two of the offenses charged in the indictment, murder in the aid of racketeering and using a firearm in the commission of a murder, can result in the death penalty. The other violations charged in the indictment carry maximum sentences ranging from three years to life in prison.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew M. Scoble, Kimberly Hopkins, and Laurie K. Gray aided by Christine Tian and Ponly Tu.