FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A MS-13 gang member has been sentenced to life in prison on charges of kidnapping and murder, officials with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Wednesday.

According to prosecutors, 28-year-old Israel Alberto Rivas Gomez, a citizen of El Salvador who was residing in Mendota, was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping and murder in aid of racketeering.

While nothing can erase the pain that family members experience when their loved one is kidnapped and murdered in cold blood, this investigation, prosecution, and sentencing goes a long way in obtaining justice.

Tatum King, Homeland Security Investigations San Francisco (NorCal) Special Agent in Charge

According to court documents, Rivas Gomez was a member of La Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), a violent criminal street gang. On Dec. 18, 2017, he and his fellow MS-13 members kidnapped the 19-year-old victim in Mendota, drove him to a remote location approximately 30 minutes away, and used a knife and a machete to murder the victim, all in furtherance of MS-13’s criminal gang enterprise.

DOJ officials say a jury convicted Rivas Gomez in September 2022 of kidnapping and murder in aid of racketeering.