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An alleged member of a Norteno gang has been charged in federal court in San Francisco with the attempted murder of three federal agents who were shot during a raid in Petaluma on May 3. The three attempted murder charges against Victor Flores, 20, of Petaluma, were included in a revised indictment issued by a federal grand jury in San Francisco on Tuesday. The new counts were added to charges in an April 24 indictment in which Flores and 18 other alleged members and associates of a group known as the 500 Block/C Street gang are accused of an array of crimes including racketeering conspiracy, attempted murder and murder. The indictment alleges the 500 Block and C Street gangs were originally two separate gangs based in South San Francisco but have joined to become a single unified association.
Members of the 500 Block/C Street gang identify themselves as Nortenos, and have warred with both Sureno gangs and rival Norteno gangs to protect their territory, according to the indictment. The three agents who were wounded worked with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, and were shot as they served warrants at a home near McNeil Avenue and South McDowell Boulevard in Petaluma at around 4:30 a.m. May 3, authorities said at the time. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said today that one of the injured agents has returned to duty full time.
The other two are continuing to undergo therapy and are making progress on their recovery, she said. Flores, also known as “Little Creeper,” has been in custody since May 4, Haag said. The charges of attempted murder of a federal agent each carry a potential sentence of 20 years in prison if Flores is convicted. The revised indictment also accuses Flores of using a gun in a crime of violence in the May 3 incident, and that charge carries a possible sentence of life in prison upon conviction.
ICE Director John Morton said in a statement from Washington, D.C., “As this incident illustrated, our agents put their lives on the line every day in their ongoing efforts to promote public safety.” In addition to facing the new charges, Flores is one of four defendants previously accused in the indictment of murdering three young men perceived as rival gang members in South San Francisco on Dec. 22, 2010. The other defendants accused of the murders are Joseph Ortiz, 22, of South San Francisco; Justin Whipple, 19, of San Bruno; and Benjamin Campos-Gonzalez, 21, of San Mateo.
The charges of murder in aid of racketeering carry a potential death penalty upon conviction, but prosecutors have not yet decided whether to seek death penalties. Most of the defendants in the case are due to appear before U.S. District Judge Susan Illston Friday for a hearing on pretrial motions.
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