COLUMBUS, Ohio (7-29-21) – A defendant responsible for murder as charged in the federal case against local members and associates of MS-13 was sentenced in U.S. District Court today.
Juan Flores-Castro, 32, of Columbus, is the ninth defendant to be convicted and sentenced to at least 30 years in prison for committing murder on behalf of the transnational criminal organization. Specifically, Flores-Castro was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
The others include:
- Martin Neftali Aguilar-Rivera (“Momia”) – sentenced to life in prison without parole
- Jose Bonilla-Mejia (“Espia”) – sentenced to life in prison without parole
- Pedro Alfonso Osorio-Flores (“Smokey”) – sentenced to 40 years in prison
- Jose Manuel Romero-Parada (“Russo”) – sentenced to 40 years in prison
- Jose Salvador Gonzalez-Campos (“Danger”) – sentenced to 40 years in prison
- Juan Jose Jimenez-Montufar (“Chele Trece”) – sentenced to 35 years in prison
- Jose Daniel Gonzalez-Campos (“Flaco”) – sentenced to 30 years in prison
- Jose Mendez-Peraza (“Shadow”) – sentenced to 30 years in prison
The murders include:
1) the December 2006 murder of Jose Mendez, a suspected confidential informant, in Perry County;
2) the November 2008 murder of Ramon Ramos on Lockbourne Road in Columbus;
3) the mid-2015 murder of Carlos Serrano-Ramos, a suspected rival gang member, near Innis Road in Columbus;
4) the November 2015 murder of Wilson Villeda near Innis Road in Columbus;
5) the December 2016 murder of Salvador Martinez-Diaz, a suspected rival gang member, on Melroy Avenue in Columbus;
6) the 2016 murder of Jose Ovillio Ayala-Alas in Virginia;
7) the 2017 murder of 15-year-old Genesis Lizbeth Cornejo-Alvarado, who was believed to have dated a rival gang member, in Texas;
8) the 2017 murder and dismemberment of Israel Anibal Mejia-Martinez in Indianapolis.
In total, 22 defendants have been convicted. The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged 23 individuals as members and associates of MS-13 in Columbus in a February 2018 second superseding indictment. Daniel Alexander Diaz-Romero (“Manchas”) remains a fugitive.
The defendants have been found guilty as part of a racketeering conspiracy, which includes eight murders as well as attempted murder, extortion, money laundering, drug trafficking, assault, obstruction of justice, witness intimidation, weapons offenses and immigration-related violations. Specifically, Flores-Castro was held responsible for his role in the murders of Wilson Villeda and Salvador Martinez-Diaz, as well as for selling drugs on behalf of the gang.
Vipal J. Patel, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Chris Hoffman, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; Rebecca Adducci, Detroit Field Office Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations; Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin; and Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant announced the sentence imposed this morning by U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.
Deputy Criminal Chief Brian J. Martinez and Assistant United States Attorney Noah R. Litton are representing the United States in this case.