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Jonesboro gang member gets 21 years in federal prison

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

A Jonesboro woman is among five gang members to get lengthy federal prison sentences, for their roles in a 2008 five-county crime spree, said officials Monday.

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said Gloria Galvan, 21, was sentenced to 21 years, 6 months, and ordered to pay almost $20,000 restitution. Yates said Galvan pleaded guilty last year to one count each of armed robbery of a grocery store, and discharging a firearm during a carjacking, and four counts of carjacking, or attempted carjacking.

Following the end of her prison term, Galvan will serve five years on supervised release.

Yates said Galvan and four others are members of SUR-13, or Surenos-13. The five went on a crime spree Dec. 12, 2008, that spanned Clayton, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.

The spree began when several defendants, armed with baseball bats and a gun, robbed a Mexican grocery store using a stolen car. The defendants beat a man and tried to carjack his truck, said Yates. In quick succession, the defendants, armed with an AK-47 and other firearms, carjacked, or tried to carjack, six other vehicles.

During one of the attempts, a child was hit in the mouth with a baseball bat. When that theft failed, the fleeing suspects fired the AK-47 at the child's family.

The spree ended during a police chase when the suspects rolled the stolen truck they were in, and one of the gang members was killed.

Yates said the violent offenders will be off the streets for at least a dozen years.

"Gang crime strikes a particular fear in communities because of its unpredictable and violent nature," Yates said. "Because of the violent nature of these carjackings and physical assaults, each of these defendants will now be confined to federal prison for at least a dozen years, and for some, much more."

Four other defendants sentenced with Galvan are: Pedro Barrera-Perez, 30, of Stone Mountain; Irma Ovalles, 21, of Stone Mountain; Jerry Arriaga, 22, of Austell, and Francisco Arrellano, 20, of Lithia Springs.

The case was investigated by special agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations. The Fulton County District Attorney's Office prosecuted minors involved in the carjacking. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim S. Dammers prosecuted the case.