ATLANTA - A month-long trial in federal court concluded this week when five Atlanta gang members who operated in Gwinnett and other metro counties were found guilty of racketeering and violent crimes connected to gang activity.
A jury on Thursday ruled the defendants were part of a street gang known as Surenos-13, or Sur-13. The gang operated locally and in Fulton and DeKalb counties.
According to evidence presented in court, Sur-13 members have committed murders, robberies, carjackings and drive-by shootings and are prolific drug dealers.
The gang's alleged leader, Armando Prudente, 34, ordered a drive-by shooting on April 24, 1999 that killed Rogelio Guzman on South Norcross Tucker Road in Gwinnett.
Two other gang members, Roberto Sandoval, 25, and Jorge Flores, 28, were also convicted of murder, after Prudente supplied them with semi-automatic weapons used in the shooting, according to court records.
Another defendant, Israel Cruz, 29, was convicted of killing Florentino Marcail at a party in Atlanta on Dec. 13, 2000.
Cruz joins Prudente and Flores who were also convicted of racketeering.
Ricardo Gama, 29, was convicted of being an alien in possession of a firearm.
The case's indictment helped shatter the leadership structure of Sur-13, said U.S. Attorney David Nahmias in a release.
Kenneth Smith, a special agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was optimistic the convictions can help freeze local gang activity.
"Gangs pose a serious threat to families in our communities," Smith said. "We are committed to identifying and dismantling these criminal organizations."
Prudente, Sandoval, Cruz and Flores are expected to be sentenced to life in federal prison.
There is no chance for parole in the federal system.
Gama, the only defendant not traced to murders, could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000.
A sentence hearing is scheduled for Feb. 19 next year.