MS-13 gang member
A member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, also known as MS-13. Reuters

The MS-13 gang, or Mara Salvatrucha, was dealt a crippling blow in San Francisco, Tuesday, when a jury convicted six men of racketeering and conspiracy.

The dreaded gang had terrorized San Francisco's Mission District for several years and was responsible for at least three murders in 2008.

The convicted six men faces up to life in prison. Sentencing by U.S. District Judge William Alsup has been scheduled for Nov. 30. Walter Cruz-Zavala, the seventh defendant, was acquitted.

The court trial lasted for more than four months and jury deliberation lasted for a week. During the trial, the prosecutors said the seven accused were part of a heavily armed gang that controlled the Mission District through fear and intimidation.

The prosecutors offered evidence that included testimony of former gang members, who pleaded guilty in exchange for lesser sentences, and secret tape-recordings of their conversations with the defendants.

Meanwhile, another 18 defendants who were indicted in 2008, have also pleaded guilty to series of charges, including intimidation and violence. Two more gang members await trial for the killing of a person outside the Daly City BART Station in Feb. 2009.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Lanny Breuer, has welcomed the jury verdict. These convictions, together with prior guilty pleas, have substantially impacted the gang's ability to operate in San Francisco, Breuer, who heads the Justice Department's Criminal Division, said in a statement.