On September 29th, 2022

Jury Convicts MS-13 Gang Member of Kidnapping and Murder California Department of Justice assisted with this case

“This case reflects a major accomplishment of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies working together, combining resources and expertise, to keep Californians safe from violent criminal street gangs.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona

FRESNO— On Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, a jury found Israel Alberto Rivas Gomez, 27, a citizen of El Salvador unlawfully residing in Mendota, guilty of kidnapping and murder in aid of racketeering.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Rivas Gomez was a member of La Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), a violent criminal street gang that engages in racketeering activity, including murder, kidnapping, extortion, and drug trafficking. On Dec. 18, 2017, Rivas Gomez and other MS-13 gang members kidnapped a 19-year-old man in Mendota, drove him to a remote location approximately 30 minutes away, and used a knife and machete to murder him.

“This conviction is the culmination of years of incredible teamwork between our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners,” said U.S. Attorney Phillip A Talbert. “In August 2018, we announced the arrest of 25 individuals, including Rivas Gomez, associated with the MS-13 gang after investigators found evidence of broad criminal activity centered in and around the Central Valley town of Mendota. This defendant murdered a young man and brought untold harm to the victim’s family.”

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the California Department of Justice and the California Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit, the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC), the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Special Services Unit (SSU).

Rivas Gomez is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 16, 2022. He faces a mandatory statutory penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.


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