08/21/2019 | Press release | Archived content
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A defendant in the MS-13 racketeering case has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court and accepted responsibility for his involvement in multiple homicides, including the murder of a former confidential informant.
Juan Jose Jimenez-Montufar (also known as Chele Trece), 35, of Columbus, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering and two counts of murder in aid of racketeering.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Todd A. Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, Rebecca Adducci, Detroit Field Office Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations, Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin and Interim Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan announced the plea entered into today before Chief U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.
Jimenez-Montufar is one of 23 individuals charged in a second superseding indictment in February 2018 who are alleged to be members and associates of MS-13 in Columbus.
The defendants are charged in a racketeering conspiracy, which includes five murders as well as attempted murder, extortion, money laundering, drug trafficking, assault, obstruction of justice, witness intimidation, weapons offenses and immigration-related violations.
The second superseding indictment alleges that the defendants committed a host of overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy, including: 1) the December 2006 murder of Jose Mendez, a confidential informant, in Perry County; 2) the November 2008 murder of Ramon Ramos on Lockbourne Road in Columbus; 3) the mid-2015 murder of Carlos Serrano-Ramos, a suspected rival gang member, near Innis Road in Columbus; 4) the November 2015 murder of Wilson Villeda near Innis Road in Columbus; and 5) the December 2016 murder of Salvador Martinez-Diaz, a suspected rival gang member, on Melroy Avenue in Columbus.
As part of his plea, Jimenez-Montufar admitted to being the shooter who killed Jose Mendez in 2006. At that time, Mendez was a confidential informant working with law enforcement agencies in the Columbus area. In December 2006, Jimenez-Montufar and other MS-13 members drove Mendez to a remote location east of Columbus to murder him. Jimenez-Montufar shot Mendez in the head and left his body in Perry County.
Jimenez-Montufar's plea also details that the defendant participated in other homicides, assaulted victims, set fire to an extortion victim's car, and took part in drug trafficking, extortion and money laundering.
Jimenez-Montufar faces up to life in prison.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI, ICE, Columbus Division of Police and Franklin County Sheriff's Office, and the assistance of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), as well as Assistant United States Attorneys Brian J. Martinez and Jessica H. Kim, who are prosecuting the case.
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