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MS-13 leader sentenced to life in prison for ordering San Francisco murders

A leader of the notorious MS-13 street gang in San Francisco's Mission District has been sentenced to life in prison.
Elmer Rodriguez was convicted in June of racketeering conspiracy and other charges for directing killings on behalf of MS-13’s 20th Street gang. | Source: RJ Mickelson/The Standard

A leader of the notorious MS-13 street gang in San Francisco's Mission District has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in multiple murders, attempted murders and other violent crimes, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Elmer Rodriguez, who is also known by the alias "Gordo," was convicted in June of racketeering conspiracy and other charges for directing killings on behalf of MS-13’s 20th Street gang. A federal jury also found Rodriguez guilty of ordering two 2017 murders in San Francisco.

Because of his federal sentence, Rodriguez is not eligible for parole.

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In one of the murder cases, prosecutors said Rodriguez ordered the killing of Jorge Martinez, who was celebrating his birthday at a Mission District bar after attending a Warriors game with his son. Martinez was fatally shot after Rodriguez identified him as a possible rival Norteño gang member.

In the second case, Rodriguez sanctioned the machete killing of Giovanni Alvarez, a 20th Street clique member he suspected of cooperating with police, according to prosecutors.

Alvarez was hacked to death with a machete in May 2017 after Rodriguez and two other MS-13 members, Kenneth Campos and Edwin Alvarado Amaya, drove him to Bernal Heights Park.

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Rodriguez, who prosecutors said led the clique, also took part in various assaults, shootings and extortion, according to federal prosecutors. Seventeen defendants have been convicted in the yearslong racketeering investigation, resulting in multiple murder and attempted murder convictions.

In July 2017, authorities initiated the investigation into Rodriguez and other MS-13 members, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement agencies in San Francisco, San Mateo County, Daly City, Pinole, Redwood City and San Pablo.

Joel Umanzor can be reached at jumanzor@sfstandard.com