Gang Informant Convicted of Lying

row of handcuffed menA federal jury convicted an MS-13 gang informant and admitted murderer Robert “Zorro” Acosta of lying to law enforcement authorities about his role in eight murders related to his gang membership.

Acosta, also known as “Little Bad Boy,” went on the federal payroll as an informant for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2005 and he began making undercover recordings of San Francisco’s 20th St. clique of MS-13. 

Seven alleged members of San Francisco’s 20th Street clique of the MS-13 gang, are currently on trial for conspiracy, racketeering and drug sales in federal court.

Acosta had told authorities he was involved in only one incident of attempted murder in Honduras, but prosecutors discovered later Acosta was allegedly involved in a string of eight murders in Honduras. 

He became a liability for the government.  Prosecutors decided not to have him testify and his background even raised questions about whether jurors could hear the tape recordings Acosta made of meetings with the San Francisco alleged gang members.

According to the government, Acosta told them he was convicted in Honduras of attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm and even that he passed on orders that resulted in the deaths of two or three people.  He denied he participated in any murders, according to the government.

But in February 2011, on the eve of the federal gang trial in which he would be a key witness, Acosta admitted that in 2003 or 2004 he oversaw distribution of the MS-13 gang’s drug operation in Honduras.  And during that time he was ordered to carry out eight murders, according to prosecutors.

Jurors convicted him July 12 of a single count of lying to federal officials.

He will be sentenced later this year.

Meanwhile, the federal gang trial is entering its final weeks and should conclude in early August, without Acosta’s testimony.

 Case:  U.S. v. Acosta, C11-182CRB

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