SAN JOSE — A Tijuana man who spent years on the lam from racketeering and murder charges before being extradited to the United States has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for participating in a 2011 gang-related murder, court records show.
Juan “Droopy” Sandoval, 31, pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder, and was sentenced May 16 by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila, court records show. Sandoval was arrested in Mexico in 2021, but only extradited to the United States after the federal government promised it wouldn’t seek the death penalty against him.
Prosecutors acknowledge Sandoval was not the man who personally murdered 22-year-old Luis Diaz on the early morning of Oct. 23, 2011, but say he was part of a group of Sureño gang members who chased down and assaulted Diaz after assuming Diaz was a rival gang member. Another man, 40-year-old Roberto Jaime Martinez, aka “Espantos,” stabbed Diaz to death during the attack, according to authorities.
Sandoval allegedly bragged to a confidential FBI informant that he hit Diaz during a hammer during the attack, but Sandoval’s attorney says that Sandoval was lying in a misguided effort to prop up his participation, and that autopsy reports showed Diaz suffered no injuries consistent with a hammer strike. Sandoval’s attorney also wrote that Diaz was deported to Mexico in 2013, before he was indicted in a racketeering case targeting the Sureño gang, as opposed to having fled the country to avoid prosecution.
The indictment, handed down in 2014, charged 33 suspected gang members and associates with a range of crimes, including drug trafficking and violence. The defendants include Martinez, whose case has been hung up for years while the court evaluates whether he’s mentally competent to stand trial, records show.
Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/05/20/longtime-fugitive-sentenced-to-15-years-in-federal-for-participation-in-2011-san-jose-murder/