Gang member convicted of ‘hunting’ murder victim gets 27 years in prison

A 27-year-old gang member and Mexican citizen convicted of killing a man in a mistaken gang hit in Daly City in 2009 has been sentenced to 27 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Jaime Balam, a member of the MS-13 gang (also known as La Mara Salvatrucha), was convicted of murder and other charges for taking part in a shooting with two other gang members who were involved in a series of violent crimes in San Francisco.

Balam was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge William H. Alsup. Balam, also known as Tweety, pleaded guilty Aug. 16 to conspiracy to commit murder, racketeering, and illegal use and possession of firearms, among other crimes.

In addition to the 27-year sentence, Alsup sentenced Balam to five years of supervised release and to pay $21,650 in restitution to the murder victim’s father

“Balam acknowledged that in order to maintain and increase his position as an MS-13 gang member, he would kill members of rival gangs and those believed to be members of rival gangs,” reads a statement about the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Balam was convicted of “hunting” for rival gang members in San Francisco and Daly City on Feb. 19, 2009 along with two other gang members. Danilo Velasquez, also known as “Triste,” the local leader of MS-13, was convicted of racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder in 2011. Luis Herrera, also known as “Killer,” pleaded guilty to using a firearm that caused the murder of an individual.

“In a hail of gunfire, Mr. Velasquez and his co-conspirators killed and wounded four unarmed individuals – all in the name of MS-13,” Assistant Attorney General Breuer said in 2011.

“Senseless acts of violence like those committed by Mr. Velasquez and his fellow gang members are too common across the United States,” Breuer continued. “Through sustained enforcement, we have taken leaders of MS-13 in San Francisco and elsewhere off the streets, and we will continue our efforts to make all our communities safe from violent gangs.”

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