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Violent Sur 13 gang leader convicted sentenced to life

September 28, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Violent Sur 13 gang leader convicted sentenced to life

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A man that police say was a high-ranking member of the Sur 13 gang will spend the rest of his life behind bars after he was found guilty of murder in a drug-related shooting in 2015 in Gwinnett County, Georgia.

On Monday, Elijah Rodriguez — also known by the nicknames “Joker” and “El Jefe Combo” — was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Karen Beyers to life without parole, with an additional 135 years. A jury had found Rodriguez guilty of felony murder, conspiring to possess meth with intent to distribute, conspiring to traffic meth, aggravated battery, criminal gang activity, influencing a witness, along with aggravated assault.

Rodriguez was charged with the slaying of Kevin Orlando Rivera, whose remains were discovered in July 2015 with multiple gunshot wounds at an apartment complex.

Prosecutors say Rivera was the victim of another shooting about two weeks before he was killed and that he had been involved in the robbery of a significant amount of meth in the days before his death.

Elijah Rodriguez was convicted of felony murder, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, aggravated battery, criminal gang activity, influencing a witness and aggravated assault.

Before he was killed, Rivera had a dispute with Rodriguez in a hotel room. Rodriguez initially told detectives he was at a nightclub at the time of the killing, but they were able to establish that he was in the area of the murder scene at the time.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rodriguez initially told detectives he was at a nightclub at the time of the killing, but they were able to establish that he was in the area of the murder scene at the time.

They learned that Rodriguez tried to purchase a pistol from another Sur 13 member hours before Rivera’s shooting and produced a picture of Rodriguez on a bed with two automatic weapons and a pistol that was snapped only minutes before Rivera was killed.

Sur 13 gang leader sentenced

Elijah Rodriguez — also known by the street names “Joker” and “El Jefe Combo” — was sentenced Monday by Superior Court Judge Karen Beyers to life

Prosecutors also provided evidence that in the weeks before his trial, Rodriguez assaulted a fellow inmate at the Gwinnett County Detention Center to prevent him from testifying.

They also noted Rodriguez continued to organize meth deals from prison as he awaited trial.

Numerous cops and gang investigators testified that Rodriguez secured a leadership position in Sur 13 and a subset group known as El Combo. At trial, Rodriguez’s attorney contended that El Combo is not a gang, but is instead a rap group to which his client was part of.

Prosecutors, however, showed pictures of numerous gang-related tattoos on Rodriguez’s body, including the words “Surenos 13” inked across his chest.

The investigation was carried out by Gwinnett County Police homicide and gang units, with support from other agencies in Georgia and Alabama.

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