San Jose gang leader sentenced to 15 years in prison

File photo of a jail cell.

SAN JOSE (BCN) — A San Jose gang leader was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison for racketeering conspiracy, methamphetamine distribution and use of a gun,
according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Jesus Armendariz pleaded guilty on July 28. According to his plea agreement, Armendariz admitted belonging to the Sureno gang from at least January 2009 to at least January 2014, federal prosecutors said.

Armendariz said that he had performed the functions of a gang leader and liaison for the Mexican Mafia prison gang to San Jose Sureno gangs, which include the Sur Santos Pride (SSP) gang.

The SSP gang committed murder, attempted murder and robbery and pledged its loyalty to the Mexican Mafia prison gang and followed its orders, prosecutors said.

Armendariz admitted conspiring with SSP members to give Sureno gang members guns and crystal meth provided by the Mexican Mafia. He collected money from each San Jose Sureno gang and sent that money to the Mexican Mafia. He also admitted communicating Mexican Mafia instructions to Sureno gangs, prosecutors said.

FBI agents raided Armendariz’s tattoo shop on Jan. 30, 2014, recovering more than 700 grams of crystal meth, three handguns and an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Armendariz and 26 other Sureno gang members in San Jose were indicted on March 18, 2014. Their charges include Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) conspiracy, Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR) murder conspiracy, VICAR murder and attempted murder, distributing crystal methamphetamine and using and possessing firearms.

In addition to his prison term, Armendariz will serve five years of supervised release, prosecutors said.

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