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Salinas gang member faces 80 years to life for “Operation REDRUM” initiation attempted murders

SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV) UPDATE DEC. 30, 2022, at 3:10 p.m.- Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni said a Salinas gang member was found guilty of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree attempted murder to benefit a criminal street gang.

Neil Aguillon-Palermo, 23, was found guilty of a 2017 double attempted murder on Orchard Street. Aguillon-Palermo was found guilty of first-degree conspiracy to commit murder and two counts of first-degree attempted murder, as well as for gang-related firearm enhancements causing great bodily injury committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang.

Neil Aguillon-Palermo mugshot provided by the Monterey County Sheriff's Office.

On Feb. 13, 2017, Salinas Police arrived at Orchard Street at 12:21 a.m. to find a father and son suffering from several gunshot wounds. Pacioni said Aguillon-Palermo and other gang members followed the two and shot them as they pulled into their driveway.

Police said at least four firearms fired 21 rounds into the passage side of the victims' car. "Gang members would receive certification or formal acceptance into the gang for killing a person perceived to be a rival Sureno gang member," said Pacioni.

This was part of "Operation REDRUM," where a certain gang went around killing random and unsuspecting people for initiation into the gang. The victims had no gang ties, according to Pacioni.

Aguillon-Palermo will face 80 years to life in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations at his sentencing hearing on Feb. 22, 2023.

REDRUM has resulted in the arrest and prosecution of several gang members. On March 23, 2022, Luis Atayde, another target of this investigation, was found guilty and sentenced to 50 Years to Life for the February 11, 2017, murder of John Rodzach at the Hebbron Heights Community Center, per Pacioni.

Salinas gang member sentenced 50-years-to-life for 2017 Hebbron Heights murder

UPDATE MAY 25, 2022, at 4:10 p.m.-- A known gang member has been sentenced to 50 years to life for a 2017 murder on Hebbron Heights, according to Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni.

Luis "Reeses" Atayde, 22, a Salinas resident, was found guilty in the murder of John Rodzach, 39, on March 28 of this year.

This arrest and conviction is part of law enforcement's operation REDRUM where they investigate the process of gang members systematically killing people to gain entry into a gang. Rival gang members are the targets for these killings but are not a requirement, said Pacioni.


The Monterey County District Attorney's Office said a gang member was found guilty of first-degree murder Tuesday.

Luis "Reeses" Atayde, 22, of Salinas, was found guilty on Friday of the 2017 Hebbron Heights murder of John Rodzach, who was 39 at the time of his death.

On Feb. 11 of 2017 at around 12:30 a.m. Salinas Police responded to numerous gunshots near the Hebbron Heights Community Center.

On March 28, 2022, Atayde was found to have murdered for the benefit of a gang and to have discharged a firearm in its commission.

Jeannine M. Pacioni said officers found Rodzach was found dead on the scene from multiple gunshot wounds to his head, torso and limbs.

Evidence in the trial from the investigation of the murder referred to as REDRUM, said a street gang was having members gang "hunting" other rival gang members for initiating new members.

That's what they believe motivated the murder of Rodzach, according to the DA.

Although the killings never required victims to be rival gang members.

A sentencing hearing has been set for April 22, and Atayda faces 50 years and eight to life in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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Ricardo Tovar

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