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6 gang members get lengthy prison time for murders that ‘terrorized’ Mission District

A view of the Turk Street entrance of the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse at 450 Golden Gate Ave. in San Francisco on Nov. 14, 2023.
Federal authorities’ investigations led to convictions of six San Francisco Mission District gang members in multiple crimes. | Source: RJ Mickelson/The Standard

Six San Francisco men have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a criminal enterprise that terrorized the city’s Mission District for years and their involvement in seven cold-case gang-related murders.

The defendants, who pleaded guilty in October 2023, received sentences ranging from 11 to 32 years in prison, U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Tatum King, said in a statement Tuesday.

The men, part of the 19th Street/16th Street Sureños gang, were convicted of offenses related to the group’s criminal activities, which included shootings, robberies and drug dealing, as well as roles in seven cold-case murders between 2006 and 2013.  

“This Sureño criminal enterprise has terrorized San Francisco’s Mission District for decades through shootings, robberies, and drug dealing,” Ramsey said. 

“The sentences in this case make clear that we will pursue the perpetrators of gang violence and seek justice no matter when that violence occurred.”  

The defendants were identified as Eddy Urbina, 35; Jonathan Aguilar, 37; Orlando Hernandez, 41; Weston Venegas, 34; Juan Carlos Gallardo, 35; and Mario Reyes, 44. All are from San Francisco.

Urbina, who was sentenced to 32 years in prison, admitted in a plea agreement to a Sept. 4, 2008, shooting where he and others killed two victims and tried to kill a third in retaliation for a fellow gang member’s same-day murder.

Aguilar, who received 30 years, admitted in his plea agreement to a March 14, 2006, shooting where he and others killed two victims and tried to kill two others, as well as a separate September 2007 shooting.

Hernandez and Venegas each received 25-year sentences, with 13 years to be served consecutively to previous 12-year sentences for racketeering. In plea agreements, both men admitted to roles in a March 30, 2013, murder intended as a retaliation for a gang member’s murder two years earlier. Court filings said their victim was an innocent civilian mistaken for a rival.

Gallardo was sentenced to 22 years, after admitting in a plea agreement to fatally shooting a 16-year-old boy at a Feb. 28, 2009, Richmond house party, as well as participating in gang-related robberies. Reyes, who received an 11-year sentence, said in a plea agreement that he sought victims in the 2013 shooting, as well as joining in on racketeering conspiracies and narcotics sales.

“This sentencing reflects efforts by law enforcement to pursue justice in a long-running case that terrorized victims in the Mission District and beyond,” King said. “We hope this sentence provides some solace and closure to victim families who have suffered for a significant period of time.”  

In addition, the defendants were ordered to spend five years on supervised release after completing their respective prison terms.  

The case was the result of a multiyear investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, with help from San Francisco police’s community violence reduction team and homicide detail.

George Kelly can be reached at