An MS-13 gang member who rose to a leadership position and demanded others continue the violence even after a federal take-down drained the gang's San Francisco ranks was convicted in federal court of RICO conspiracy today.
Danilo "Triste" Velasquez (triste
is Spanish for "sad") now faces 10 years to life in prison. He will be sentenced on Feb. 14, authorities said. This is the latest conviction in a wide-scale federal indictment of dozens of members of the transnational gang's local 20th Street clique, which claimed the territory around 20th and Mission Streets as their turf. A jury already found six others guilty
of conspiracy in August, and many others have pleaded guilty.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, "Velasquez assumed leadership on the streets and encouraged the remaining member of the gang to engage in violence in order to demonstrate their continued presence in San Francisco, despite its loss in numbers due to the federal indictment."
One of those members was Luis "Killer" Herrera, who joined the gang after his brother, Guillermo, was arrested in the October 2008 take-down. Luis was a member of the gang for a short but brutal three months before he, too, was busted; he pleaded guilty to seven racketeering-related counts. Velasquez and Luis, co-defendants in the trial, shot and wounded two individuals in rival gang territory on Feb. 13, 2009.
Luis Herrera also pleaded guilty joining the MS-13 "hunting party" six days later on Feb. 19, where a group of gangsters tailed a car of three non-gang members from the Excelsior District to the Daly City BART station. There, Velasquez and another MS-13 member, Jaime Balam, flanked the car and shot dead 21-year-old college student Moises Frias.
Luis Herrera struck a plea bargain in which he'll receive a 35-year prison sentence on Jan. 24.Follow us on Twitter at @SFWeekly and @TheSnitchSF