Greeley gang leader will ‘never walk the streets again’


GREELEY, Colo. — A well-known gang leader convicted of first-degree murder, among other charges, was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 98 years on Monday.

John Anthony Silva, 35, was convicted of murder, violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, first-degree burglary, aggravated robbery, intimidating a witness and felony drug charges in early August.

Prosecutors said Silva is a known Northern Colorado Norteno-affiliated street gang leader.

“This strict sentencing ends the terror Mr. Silva has inflicted on our community,” Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said in a statement. “Hopefully, this will send a message to anyone who wants to participate in gang activity. If you do, we will send you away for a very long time. In Mr. Silva’s case, he’ll never walk the streets again.”

Silva previously served 12 years in prison for the manslaughter of 16-year-old Bobby Watson and was released in 2013, according to the statement.

“While on parole in August 2013, Silva and other gang members brutally murdered Gumercindo Munoz-Vizcaino by bludgeoning him to death with a medieval weapon known as a flail,” the district attorney’s office said. “They also repeatedly stabbed him, which caused him to bleed out.”

A flail is similar to a mace or a morningstar.

Prosecutors said Silva and other gang members also robbed a coin store at gunpoint.

“Time and time again, Mr. Silva has proven he can’t function in our society,” Rourke said. “Even after the board released him on parole, he killed a man, robbed a store and operated a drug ring. The time is long past due that he be put behind bars for the rest of his life.”