Leader of Mexican drug gang sentenced to 12 life terms in San Diego for murder

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: October 15, 2014 - 7:15 PM

SAN DIEGO ó The convicted leader of a Mexican drug gang that killed and kidnapped people in Southern California has been sentenced to a dozen life sentences without chance of parole.

U-T San Diego (http://bit.ly/1vwgjq2) says Jorge Rojas Lopez also got an additional 162 years to life Wednesday in San Diego.

Rojas was convicted of four murders and pleaded guilty to five more.

Authorities say Rojas was the head of Los Palillos ó Spanish for "the Toothpicks."

To keep Rojas from getting the death penalty, the defense argued that many of the people who were killed or held captive for ransom belonged to a Mexican drug cartel.

Rojas was one of 18 people indicted in connection with the gang.

Co-leader Juan Francisco Estrada Gonzalez was sentenced Tuesday to nine life terms.