Man gets life in SSF triple gang murder

A Petaluma man who was convicted last year in a 2010 gang-related triple murder in South San Francisco was sentenced Friday┬áin a San Francisco federal court to life in prison plus an additional 35 years, according to a spokesman with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston handed down the sentence after a federal jury convicted Victor Flores, 23, on Oct. 1 of the murders.

During that trial, Flores was also found guilty of racketeering conspiracy and the attempted murder of three U.S. Homeland Security Department agents who conducted a predawn raid on his family’s house in Petaluma to arrest him in 2012.

The three-month trial included three other defendants who prosecutors said were alleged members, along with Flores, of the Norteno-affiliated 500 Block/C Street gang in South San Francisco.

Prosecutors said the men were riding in a car on Dec. 22, 2010, when they recognized alleged members of the Cypress Park Locos, a rival Norteno gang, walking along Eighth Lane near the intersection of Linden Avenue.

According to prosecutors, Flores and at least one other passenger got out of the car and began to shoot at the group, killing Omar Cortez, 18, Gonzalo Avalos, 19, and Hector Flores, 20, all of South San Francisco and wounding three others.

During the trial, Benjamin Campos-Gonzales, 23, of San Mateo, who was alleged to have driven the car carrying the shooters, was acquitted of the three murders, but convicted of racketeering conspiracy.

Armando Acosta, 29, of Pacifica, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, being an accessory after the fact to the murders and obstructing justice.

The fourth defendant, Mario Bergren, 25, of South San Francisco, was acquitted of all charges.

The other passenger prosecutors said also participated in shooting the men, Joseph Ortiz, 23, of South San Francisco, pleaded guilty in 2013 to the three murders and numerous other charges and was sentenced by Illston to five consecutive life terms plus 60 years in prison.

Prosecutors had originally said they would seek the death penalty for Ortiz but his guilty plea enabled him to avoid that penalty.