Bail Fail

SOMA gunman facing federal charges after six months on lam

A Honduran national drug dealer – who a judge had a “strong suspicion” discharged a firearm twice at man’s head in 2022, and who was arrested in possession of a 9mm pistol, brass knuckles and fentanyl but nevertheless bailed – has been charged in U.S. District Court after a further SOMA drugs arrest prompted a federal criminal complaint.

Mauricio Hernandez, 27, was arrested on May 25, 2023 outside the seventh street federal building after an eagle-eyed security guard identified him as the 2022 shooter. On arrest he was found in possession of fentanyl and methamphetamine.

A judge had a “strong suspicion” Hernandez was the shooter

He is charged with violating 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C) ‘possession with intent to distribute a mixture or substance containing a trace amount of fentanyl.’

In a complaint filed by FBI Agent Audrey Heylmann, the court was told that, on the morning of August 14, 2022, during what appeared to be a drugs sale, another man approached the Hernandez and began to argue.

Video footage shows the man brandish and then put away a machete-style knife. Hernandez is then seen drawing a black firearm, pointing it in the direction of the unknown male and firing two shots at close range. Fortunately the shots missed.

Hernandez outside the federal building in SOMA

Hernandez then escaped on a scooter. He was eventually arrested, again in the vicinity of the federal building, on October 25, 2022. In his backpack, police found a loaded Ruger 9mm semi-automatic pistol, brass knuckles, and 104.5 grams of fentanyl in plastic bags.

Brass knuckles and firearm found in Hernandez’ backpack

At a preliminary hearing on November 14, 2022, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Marisa Chun found there was probable cause to support firearms and drugs possession charges. Although she had a “strong suspicion” that he discharged the firearm, the unavailability of a crucial witness led to him not being held to answer that charge.

Hernandez then promptly absconded. He was on the lam for six months before his latest arrest.

On May 25, 2023 a security guard watching live camera footage around the federal building, spotted the defendant and directed Federal Protective Services officers to the corner of Seventh and Minna Streets where he was detained without incident.

Hernandez had previously spent four years with an active bench warrant after failing to appear for sentencing in San Francisco Superior Court on a 2018 drugs possession case.

He next appears on Thursday June 22 in San Francisco federal courthouse for arraignment. He remains in federal custody in Santa Rita jail.

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