Guillermo Herrera, better known as "Sparky," a San Francisco MS-13 gang member, was sentenced today to life in prison for racketeering-related charges. He is the last of six convicted MS-13 members to receive a life sentence.
Herrera and his five co-defendants were convicted on Aug. 30, 2011 after a five-month trial, where prosecutors showed evidence that Herrera shot and killed Armando Estrada, one of many individuals extorted by the MS-13 20th Street Clique, which operated in San Francisco's Mission District.
"Mr. Herrera and his fellow MS-13 gang members spread fear and violence throughout the Bay Area," said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. "They committed horrific acts of assault and murder on behalf of their criminal enterprise."
According to evidence presented at the trial, the transnational gang organized a clique in the Mission District in the early 1990s and grew progressively more violent as the membership and the gang expanded. The 20th Street Clique warred with rival gang members, and were also known for extortion and drug trafficking.
Herrera joined the clique in 2007 where he extorted another group of individuals who were selling fake documents on MS-13 turf, centered at 20th and Mission streets. The gang demanded a portion of the profits made from the sales and used violence to get a share of the money, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
On July 11, 2008, Herrera was driven to Mission and 20th streets where he spotted Estrada, chased him down, and then shot him in the back of the head at close range with a shotgun.
The motive was clear: to maintain control over the group the MS-13 gang was extorting.
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