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San Mateo Man On Trial for Murder, Racketeering

The alleged gang member is accused of killing 3 rival gang members.

The suspect in one of 19 originally charged with racketeering. (Photo: Patch Archive)
The suspect in one of 19 originally charged with racketeering. (Photo: Patch Archive)
A two-month racketeering trial began in federal court in San Francisco Wednesday for four alleged street gang members, including two men accused of carrying out a drive-by triple murder in South San Francisco in 2010.

Victor Flores, 22, of Petaluma, and Benjamin Campos-Gonzalez, 23, of San Mateo, are each accused of committing three murders in aid of racketeering in a shooting at young men perceived to be rival gang members in South San Francisco on Dec. 22, 2010.          

Flores is alleged by prosecutors to have been one of two shooters and Campos-Gonzalez is alleged to have driven the car.          

The other alleged shooter, Joseph Ortiz Jr., of San Francisco, pleaded guilty last year to the three murders and 22 other counts and was sentenced to five consecutive life terms in prison.          

During opening statements before a jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, federal prosecutor Acadia Senese alleged that Flores and Ortiz began firing after their car stopped next to a group of seven young men on a street corner on the evening of Dec. 22.          

"Both have a gun. Both opened fire. They hit three people. Two died immediately and one died at the hospital," Senese said.          

Including Ortiz, a total of 15 out of 19 people charged in a racketeering indictment have pleaded guilty to various counts.          

In addition to Flores and Campos-Gonzalez, the other two defendants now on trial are Armando Acosta and Mario Bergren.

The four men were members of the 500 Block/C Street gang in South San Francisco, according to prosecutors who allege the group was affiliated with the Norteno gang.          

All four are accused of racketeering conspiracy, murder conspiracy and other charges including use of guns in violent crimes.          

Flores and Campos-Gonzalez are also charged with the attempted murder of the four surviving men, three of whom were wounded in the attack.          

In addition, Flores is accused of the attempted murder of three U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents who arrested him at his family's home in Petaluma in the pre-dawn hours of May 3, 2012.          

Senese told the jury Wednesday that the three agents were wounded and one of them was critically injured when Flores fired two 10-bullet rounds at them with a rifle.

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