The Chicago Syndicate: MS-13
Showing posts with label MS-13. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MS-13. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

In order to #KAG, President Trump and William Barr Announce Dismantling of MS-13 Leadership via Terrorism Charges and Seeking of Death Penalty Due to Joint Task Force Vulcan

President Donald J. Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr announced significant cases related to Joint Task Force Vulcan (JTFV), an initiative launched in August 2019 aimed at disrupting, dismantling, and ultimately, destroying MS-13.

President Trump and Attorney General Barr announced a number of significant cases associated with JTFV, including the first time an MS-13 member has been charged with terrorism-related offenses, a coordinated multi-district take down of the leadership of the Hollywood clique of MS-13, and the Attorney General’s decision to seek the death penalty against an MS-13 defendant.


“In 2017, the President directed the Department of Justice to go to war against MS-13, and we did just that,” said Attorney General Barr. “In coordination with our partners at the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department’s law enforcement components have successfully investigated, charged, and arrested command and control elements of MS-13 responsible for murder. Joint Task Force Vulcan’s operations have significantly degraded MS-13 capabilities. While there is still work to be done, the Department of Justice remains committed to protecting Americans threatened by MS-13, and we will not rest until we have successfully defeated this transnational criminal organization.”

“Today’s announcements are the result of tremendous teamwork and coordination between prosecutors and law enforcement officers across the United States and Central America,” said JTFV Director John Durham. “MS-13 is a violent transnational criminal organization, whose criminal activities respect no boundaries. The only way to defeat MS-13 is by targeting the organization as a whole, focusing on the leadership structure, and deploying a whole-of-government approach against a common enemy.”

In an indictment unsealed yesterday, Melgar Diaz was charged in the Eastern District of Virginia with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists; conspiring to kill or maim persons overseas; conspiring to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries; conspiring to finance terrorism, and; conspiring to engage in narco-terrorism, in addition to racketeering conspiracy and drug trafficking. This is the first time that an MS-13 member has been charged with terrorism-related offenses.

Alexi Saenz was indicted in 2017 in the Eastern District of New York. It is alleged that between 2016 and 2017 he committed seven murders: the Jan. 28, 2016, murder of Michael Johnson; the April 29, 2016, murder of Oscar Acosta; the Sept. 13, 2016, murders of Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens; the Oct. 10, 2016, murder of Javier Castillo; the Oct. 13, 2016, murder of Dewann Stacks, and; the Jan. 30, 2017, murder of Esteban Alvarado-Bonilla. Two of the victims were Brentwood high school students killed with a machete and baseball bat. The Attorney General has filed a Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty for Saenz.

In a 24 count indictment unsealed yesterday, the Eastern District of New York, charged eight MS-13 members, including leaders of the East Coast Hollywood Program, with Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) and Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR) charges related to six murders, two attempted murders, kidnapping, narcotics, and related firearms offenses.

In a 21-count indictment unsealed yesterday in the District of Nevada, 13 MS-13 members, including leaders of the “Hollywood Locos” clique and “Los Angeles Program,” were charged with various offenses including Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE), narcotics distribution and weapons charges.

In August 2019, Attorney General Barr created JTFV to carry out the recommendations of the MS-13 subcommittee formed under the Attorney General’s Transnational Organized Crime Task Force, which was the result of President Trump’s February 2017 Executive Order directing the Departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to coordinate a whole-of-government approach to dismantle transnational criminal organizations, such as MS-13, and restore safety for the American people. The principal purpose of JTFV is to coordinate and lead the efforts of the Justice Department and U.S. law enforcement agencies against MS-13 in order to dismantle the group.

JTFV has successfully implemented the whole-of-government approach to law enforcement relating to MS-13; increased coordination and collaboration with foreign law enforcement partners, including El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala; designated priority MS-13 programs, cliques and leaders, who have the most impact on the U.S., for targeted prosecutions, and; coordinated significant MS-13 indictments in U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country, such as the Eastern District of New York, the Eastern District of Virginia, and the District of Nevada.

Federal prosecutors from the Department of Justice’s National Security Division and the Criminal Division, as well as 10 U.S. Attorney’s Offices have been assigned to serve JTFV in full-time capacities: the Eastern District of New York; the Eastern District of Virginia; the District of Nevada; the Southern District of California; the District of Massachusetts; the Northern District of Ohio; the District of New Jersey; the Eastern District of Texas; the District of Utah, and; the District of Columbia. In addition, all Department of Justice law enforcement agencies are involved in the effort – the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Marshals Service, and; the Bureau of Prisons. The Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations has also played a critical role in JTFV.

Attorney General Barr would also like to thank Attorney General Raul Melara of El Salvador for the assistance of his office, as well as investigators from El Salvador’s Policia Nacional Civil, Centro Antipandilla Transnacional unit for their assistance.


Monday, June 22, 2020

Operation Blue Heat Results in MS-13 Members Sentenced to Prison for Violent 2018 Attack

Two MS-13 members were sentenced to over a combined 28 years in prison for their roles in a December 2018 shooting and stabbing that occurred in Four Mile Run Park.

“Yes, Northern Virginia has a gang problem,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “I have personally handled the prosecution of MS-13 members in Alexandria for over a decade. By burying their heads in the sand and lacking courage to address a problem because they mistakenly deem it to be politically incorrect, various community leaders in Northern Virginia simply refuse to acknowledge the gang problem to the detriment of the same Hispanic community they claim to be defending. No one suffers more at the hands of MS-13 than other individuals of Central American birth or ancestry. MS-13 gang members extort minority owned businesses in their own communities, sexually traffic first generation American juveniles, and brutally assault and even murder Hispanic boys and girls who they believe have disrespected the gang. This case is proof positive of the need for community leaders in Northern Virginia to acknowledge this reality and work to be part of the solution. We cannot prosecute MS-13 out of existence. The community must play a significant role to protect our youth from joining the gang in the first place. I believe that together we can eliminate the gang problem in Northern Virginia.”

According to court documents, Juan Francisco Rivera-Pineda, 25, and Jefferson Noe Amaya, 25, both of Alexandria, are members of the Pinos Locos Salvatrucha (PLS) clique of MS-13, which operates in Chirilagua, an area in Alexandria near the border of Arlington.

On Dec. 30, 2018, Rivera-Pineda and Amaya shot and stabbed a 40-year-old victim while the victim and his two friends were in Four Mile Run Park. The victim’s nephew had been warned by PLS not to sell drugs in PLS territory without paying rent. On the night of the shooting, Rivera-Pineda, Amaya, and a third unidentified suspect confronted the victim in the park, shooting him in the throat and arm, and stabbing him in the torso. The victim was transported to the hospital where he underwent surgery and survived.

“Today's sentencings send a clear message that the FBI and the Safe Streets Task Force remain aggressive in investigating and dismantling gang activity that brings violence and fear into our communities,” said James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office. “The FBI will continue steadfastly in its goal to take these violent offenders off the street and ultimately bring justice to the victims of these brutal acts.”

Rivera-Pineda and Amaya each pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity, and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. Rivera-Pineda was sentenced to 161 months in prison, and Amaya was sentenced to 177 months. Each sentence included a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years.

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation Blue Heat. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.


Thursday, January 23, 2020

Top 10 Criminal Crime Groups of 2019

Top 10 Criminal Crime Groups of 2019 (Click on Map to Enlarge)



GameChangers 2019: Latin America’s Top 10 Criminal Groups.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

MS-13 Gang Member and Illegal Alien Pleads Guilty to Racketeering and Quadruple Murder

Freiry Martinez, a member of the Herndon City Locos Salvatruchas clique of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13, pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in connection with his participation in the April 11, 2017 murders of Justin Llivicura, Michael Lopez, Jorge Tigre and Jefferson Villalobos.  The guilty plea was entered before United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), Geraldine Hart, Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), and Patrick J. Ryder, Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD), announced the guilty plea.

Martinez, who is now 17 years old and was 15 years and 11 months old at the time of the April 11 murders, initially was charged by a juvenile information that was filed under seal in the Eastern District of New York on July 10, 2017. Martinez fled from New York to Virginia and later to Maryland after the April 11 murders, and remained a fugitive until November 21, 2017, when he was arrested in Montgomery County, Maryland. Martinez, an illegal alien from El Salvador, subsequently was turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and removed to the Eastern District of New York in custody by the United States Marshals Service. Following the government’s application to transfer Martinez to adult status for prosecution, the motion was granted today by Judge Bianco.

“Prosecution by prosecution, defendant by defendant, we are dismantling the MS-13 through an effort that will not end until they are ended,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “The unwavering resolve of the Eastern District, the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force and all our law enforcement partners will bring justice for the victims and the perpetrators alike.” Mr. Donoghue extended his sincere appreciation to the United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, Montgomery County Police Department and Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office for assisting in this investigation.

“Most 15-year-olds are worried about a chemistry test at school or making the football team, not plotting a grotesque attack and murder of four other teenagers,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “Our work with our law enforcement partners on the FBI Long Island Gang Task Force is proof a combined and concentrated effort to combat the evil that is MS-13 will work to stop more senseless murders. We want to assure the community we won’t let up in our pursuit of rounding up these gang members and stopping them from terrorizing neighborhoods on Long Island.”

 “This guilty plea is a result of the dedicated work and collaboration of the Suffolk County Police Department, the Long Island Gang Task Force and the Eastern District,” stated SCPD Commissioner Hart. “We applaud the effort of prosecutors to ensure that Martinez would be tried as an adult to face the stiffest penalties possible. The deaths of these four young men committed at the hands of MS-13 gang members is incomprehensible and we hope today’s plea will send a clear message to gang members that we will not waver or tire from our commitment to dismantle gangs in Suffolk County. It is our hope that holding these perpetrators accountable will bring some measure of comfort and healing to the victims’ friends and families.”

“Due to the exceptional work by all of the law enforcement investigators involved and their agencies, Defendant Freiry Martinez will not be able to terrorize our communities and residents any longer,” stated NCPD Commissioner Ryder. “We have four families that have lost loved ones to the hands of MS-13 in these brutal and senseless killings. Rest assured, we will continue to engage this violence with our zero tolerance approach and will continue to remove these offenders from our streets.”

According to court filings and statements by the defendant at the guilty plea proceeding, on the evening of April 11, 2017, two female associates of the MS-13 lured five young men, including the four victims, to a community park in Central Islip at the direction of Martinez and other MS-13 members. The MS-13 members believed the victims to be members of a rival gang who were disrespectful toward the MS-13. Martinez and several MS-13 members and associates met in a wooded area behind the park where they distributed weapons, discussed the plan to kill the victims and then awaited their arrival. Once the female MS-13 associates arrived at the park, they led the victims to a wooded area and sent the MS-13 members a text message describing their location.  Pursuant to their previously devised plan, Martinez and the other MS-13 members and associates surrounded the victims and killed Llivicura, Lopez, Tigre and Villalobos using machetes, knives and wooden clubs. The fifth intended victim escaped. After the attack, Martinez and his associates dragged the victims’ bodies to a more secluded spot and fled. The victims’ bodies were discovered the following evening.

When sentenced, Martinez faces a maximum of life in prison.  Upon completion of his sentence, he faces deportation from the United States.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A MS-13 Gangster Sentenced in RICO Conspiracy Involving Murder of 16 Year Old

An MS-13 gangster was sentenced in federal court in Boston for racketeering conspiracy involving the murder of a 16-year-old boy in East Boston. 

Rigoberto Mejia, a/k/a “Ninja,” 32, a Salvadoran national, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 330 months in prison and five years of supervised release.  Mejia will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence. In April 2018, Mejia pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.

During the multi-year investigation of MS-13, Mejia was identified as a “homeboy,” or full member, of MS-13’s Trece Locos Salvatrucha (TLS) clique. Evidence further showed that on Jan. 10, 2016, Mejia and three other MS-13 members murdered a 16-year-old boy whom they believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street gang. Mejia’s alleged co-conspirators stabbed the victim multiple times while Mejia shot the victim.

Mejia is one of 49 defendants who have been convicted as part of this ongoing prosecution. Sixteen of those defendants, including Mejia, have been held responsible for racketeering conspiracy involving murder. Forty of the 49 convictions, including Mejia, were the result of guilty pleas prior to trial. Nine other defendants were convicted after trial.

MS-13 "Homeboy" Sentenced to Prison for RICO Conspiracy Involving Murder

An MS-13 member was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for racketeering conspiracy involving the murder of a 16-year-old boy in East Boston.

Rigoberto Mejia, a/k/a “Ninja,” 32, a Salvadoran national, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 330 months in prison and five years of supervised release.  Mejia will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence. In April 2018, Mejia pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.

During the multi-year investigation of MS-13, Mejia was identified as a “homeboy,” or full member, of MS-13’s Trece Locos Salvatrucha (TLS) clique. Evidence further showed that on Jan. 10, 2016, Mejia and three other MS-13 members murdered a 16-year-old boy whom they believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street gang. Mejia’s alleged co-conspirators stabbed the victim multiple times while Mejia shot the victim.

Mejia is one of 49 defendants who have been convicted as part of this ongoing prosecution. Sixteen of those defendants, including Mejia, have been held responsible for racketeering conspiracy involving murder. Forty of the 49 convictions, including Mejia, were the result of guilty pleas prior to trial. Nine other defendants were convicted after trial.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Leadership of MS-13 Attempt to Expand the Gang into #Mafia Organized Crime Family with "The Program"

The meeting in Richmond, Va., quickly dispensed with routine matters, including introductions, before the senior leadership got down to business. Teamwork and recruitment, said one top official, needed improvement. Also, anyone wanting to kill a rival must secure prior approval.

Mara Salvatrucha, the violent international street gang known as MS-13, had its share of headaches by the time of its fall 2015 meeting, which was surreptitiously recorded by U.S. authorities. One proposed solution was to better manage its estimated 10,000 U.S. members along the lines of other corporate-style criminal gangs, such as the Mafia or drug cartels.

MS-13 leaders created a catchphrase, “The Program,” for widening its influence and improving cash flow. “What we are asking is total cooperation,” a top leader told the group by speaker phone from El Salvador. “Let’s all work together, united, you know.”

For years, MS-13’s impact on the U.S. was local—confined to specific neighborhoods and cities scattered across the country as the gang used violence to secure and hold turf.

Then, federal officials tracked an alarming development. As MS-13’s influence grew, so did its ambition to leverage its network of local franchises into a cohesive, national brand. That would vault MS-13 into territory once occupied by the Mafia, and now held by Mexican drug cartels.

A series of trials that wrapped up this summer in Boston shows how MS-13 is pushing to make that leap by streamlining its management structure and creating uniform standards, much like a multinational company. The question, one that will determine whether MS-13 can make the jump to national significance, is whether that transformation can impose order on its unruly, violent young members.

The group, partly because of its success in the U.S., has become a political football, with President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions using gruesome acts by MS-13 members to push the administration’s tight immigration policy. The attorney general has called MS-13 “one of the most dangerous groups in America,” while Mr. Trump has declared its members to be “thugs” and “animals.” Democrats and lawmakers in favor of looser restrictions say their rhetoric is overblown.

Federal and state law-enforcement officials say MS-13 gang membership has grown by several thousand members over the past decade or so. It stretches to at least 40 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Justice Department.

“They have definitely showed their organizational capacity in terms of ordering violence and in terms of recruiting and replenishing the ranks,” said Derek N. Benner, a top official at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

MS-13 has drawn recruits by branding itself as an ultraviolent enterprise, according to federal officials, a gang image of protection and status. Yet while it dabbles in drugs, street robberies and petty extortion, its profits are minuscule. Federal raids of MS-13 residences typically net little more than a handful of knives, loose cash and occasionally a gun.

Dues range from $15 to $30 a month, largely paid by MS-13 members who work as laborers, construction workers or dishwashers. Most of the money is wired to gang leaders in El Salvador, to pay for phones and weapons. What’s left is pooled locally for knives, guns and recreational drugs.

“The way they are acting right now, they are not going to reach the level of organization of, say, the Mexican Mafia or the Italian mob,” said George Norris, an investigator with the Anne Arundel County, Md., State’s Attorney’s Office and a court-sanctioned gang expert. “They are just too violent. As other gangs have discovered, newsworthy violence is bad for business.”

MS-13 was founded in the 1980s in and around Los Angeles by immigrants from El Salvador, who had fled their country’s civil war. In their new neighborhoods, they found themselves surrounded by hostile gangs. For protection, they formed their own group, which they called Mara Salvatrucha.

After an alliance with the Mexican Mafia for protection inside California prisons, Mara Salvatrucha became MS-13—M is the 13th letter of the alphabet, a sign of respect for their new partners.

U.S. immigration crackdowns in the 1980s ended up sending members of MS-13 to El Salvador, where the gang took root and transformed into a transnational enterprise.

The first time federal agents began tracking the MS-13 organizational push came during a 2013 gang-wide conference call. The line was shared by about two dozen leaders in California and El Salvador, according to law-enforcement officials and court records. The goal of the call was consolidating members “under a single, cohesive leadership structure,” U.S. prosecutors said in court papers.

“The sales pitch was that everybody in MS-13 will benefit,” a federal law-enforcement official said. “The local members would get more money, guns, cars and support from the gang if they were arrested. Meanwhile, larger amounts of money would flow back to the leadership in El Salvador.”

While prosecutors in New Jersey were tracking the gang’s efforts to expand, federal agents and prosecutors in Boston were in the early stages of an MS-13 investigation in the Boston area, a probe that resulted in charges against 61 alleged members from at least eight cliques. Many who later pleaded guilty provided information about the gang’s inner workings.

Five gang members have testified in court. All were immigrants from either El Salvador or Honduras who entered the U.S. illegally. Some said they were recruited to join MS-13 by neighbors, friends at work or school classmates.

They admitted to committing street crimes, assaults and killings largely targeting rivals and suspected informants. Their weapon of choice was a machete because, as one gang member said, it allowed him to “cut somebody’s head off easily, and that person will not scream or make noise.”

Mauricio Sanchez testified he traveled to the U.S. from Honduras in 2008, and once in the Boston area, he was recruited by MS-13 members. After joining the Eastside Clique in 2013, he said he embraced the gang’s mandate for violence and focused his energy on “doing hits on the rivals.”

Mr. Sanchez described how he and other members of the Eastside Clique chased members of the rival 18th Street gang and nearly beat one to death. “He was a small guy,” testified Mr. Sanchez, now 30. “I hit him on the head, and we were all beating him…. He looked like he was in bad shape.”

Jose Hernandez Miguel testified he was deported to El Salvador in 2009 but returned two years later. Members of his Everett clique chipped in $1,000 to help pay for his illegal re-entry into the U.S.

Mr. Hernandez Miguel and other witnesses explained how members were kept in line under the organizational push from El Salvador. Short beatings were given for drinking too much or missing too many meetings. Before then, local cliques were largely autonomous.

Two members were savagely kicked after MS-13 leaders in El Salvador saw a photo of graffiti on a high school wall hailing their clique without permission. At the time, the local clique was essentially on probation, awaiting the arrival of a new leader from El Salvador.

Josue Alexis De Paz aspired to join the gang while living in El Salvador. He sold drugs, kept an eye out for rivals and extorted delivery drivers.

After being interrogated about his work by police, Mr. De Paz’s family paid $9,000 to have the teenager smuggled into the U.S., and, they hoped, out of trouble. He settled near Boston and soon joined the Everett clique.

Mr. De Paz, now 21, became a junior associate. In April, he testified how suspicion grew that another member was a snitch. Mr. De Paz and an associate were told to “make the soup,” code for killing the suspected informant, 16-year-old Jose Aguilar Villanueva, known by friends as Fantasma.

In a deserted park, Mr. De Paz testified he grabbed Mr. Aquilar Villanueva from behind and held him, while the other man stabbed the teenager.

“Then Fantasma kicked him,” Mr. De Paz said in court. “I took out my folding knife and I also stabbed him.”

They left the teen for dead and tossed away their knives and bloody clothes. Gang leaders were impressed by the work and promised to promote them to full gang status. The two associates were arrested before they got the chance. Only later did they learn Mr. Aguilar Villanueva was never an informant.

Despite their obsession with betrayal, the Boston-area MS-13 members didn’t suspect anything of the man who turned out to be their greatest threat,

Federal agents had recruited an El Salvadoran man convicted in Florida on federal charges of trafficking drugs for Mexican cartels. He returned to the U.S. from El Salvador and took the role of an unlicensed taxicab driver, shuttling members of more than a half-dozen MS-13 cliques in the area.

For nearly three years, the informant secretly recorded conversations in his car and at gang gatherings. He captured on video the promotions of junior associates—chequeos—to full-fledged gang member—homeboy—a process that included a ceremonial 13-second beating.

As trusted member of Eastside Loco Salvatrucha, the informant participated in the FBI’s biggest intelligence coup, secretly recording the December 2015 meeting in Richmond, Va. The informant drove gang leaders to meet with more than a dozen other leaders from around the U.S. His recordings, prosecutors said in court papers, provided rare “firsthand insight into the inner workings of MS-13, including its organizational structure and hierarchy.”

The meeting was held at the home of the head of the gang’s East Coast program, Jose Adan Martinez Castro, 28, who has since pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges and awaits sentencing.

Mr. Castro kicked off the gathering by explaining he had been tapped by senior gang members in El Salvador to take charge. There was too much infighting among U.S. cliques, he told the group, according to court papers that included a lengthy summary of the informant’s recording.

The gang leader provided guidance on how to conduct “hits” on rivals and informants, telling other leaders that such killings “have to be coordinated and requested beforehand.” He cautioned members against wearing Nike Cortez sneakers because police had figured out it was a gang favorite. He encouraged more drug dealing because he had extra product to sell.

The local leader dialed his counterpart in El Salvador, Edwin Manica Flores. One by one, those in attendance picked up the cellphone and introduced themselves to Mr. Flores, who was described in court papers as “one of the El Salvador-based leaders of MS-13’s East Coast Program.”

Mr. Flores, who is in custody in El Salvador, couldn’t be reached for comment.

During the meeting, Mr. Flores warned associates that their enemies “are filling up the turfs around us” and that they would benefit financially from cooperation.

The MS-13 leader, court papers allege, also emphasized the need for careful vetting of members and associates.

“You guys know how hot things are,” the leader said, according to prosecutors. “Be very careful, all of you that are there, brother, be very careful…. The FBI gives them a car, gives them money, gives them everything, and when they give them all that, they loosen their tongues.”

Mr. Flores’ warning was prescient, but late. Within weeks, FBI agents and police were fanning across Boston with arrest warrants.

Thanks to Del Quentin Wilber.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

MS-13 Gang Members Charged with Murder Conspiracy and Attempted Murder of 16 Year Old

Melvi Amador-Rios, Santos Amador-Rios, Yan Carlos Ramirez and Antonio Salvador were charged in a four-count indictment with assault, murder conspiracy and attempted murder in-aid-of racketeering, along with a related firearms offense. The defendants were arrested and were arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the indictment.

“As alleged, the defendants are members of MS-13, an international gang known for its culture of violence and murder,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “They used their positions to direct, instruct and assist lower-level gang members to shoot and kill a suspected rival on the streets of Jamaica, Queens. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who spread fear in our communities by participating in such acts of violence.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the Queens District Attorney’s Office for its assistance in the investigation.

“Since January 2016, the FBI Safe Streets Gang Task Forces in Queens and Long Island have arrested more than 45 of the most violent MS-13 members in the area and charged them with murder, attempted murder, arson, and assault,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “Today’s operation is a continuation of this coordinated and sustained effort. The task force will not stand by while this gang engages in meaningless violence in an attempt to use fear to poison and control our communities.”

“Through close collaboration with our law enforcement partners at the FBI and the Eastern District of New York, the NYPD will continue to conduct aggressive, precisely-directed investigations into criminal groups like this,” stated NYPD Commissioner O’Neill. “Such cases result in strong indictments that ultimately send these criminals to prison. And this important work stanches the violence – which is an essential step toward healing gang-plagued communities and fulfilling our duty to work with and protect all New Yorkers, in every neighborhood.”

According to court filings, the defendants are members of the La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. Melvi Amador-Rios is the leader of the Centrales Locos Salvatruchas (CLS) clique of MS-13, which operates in Jamaica, Queens. On October 22, 2016, Amador-Rios directed a low-level CLS member, known as a “chequeo,” to obtain a firearm from his brother, Santos Amador-Rios, and use the firearm to murder a rival gang member. The CLS chequeo obtained the firearm and enlisted two other CLS chequeos to assist in the murder. Yan Carlos Ramirez and Antonio Salvador instructed the three CLS chequeos how to use the firearm to carry out the murder. During the early morning hours of October 23, 2016, in Jamaica, Queens, the three CLS chequeos confronted the suspected member of the rival 18th Street gang, beat the victim and shot him in the head. The victim survived the attack, but is now a paraplegic.

This indictment is the latest in a series of federal prosecutions by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York targeting members of the MS-13, a violent international criminal organization. The MS-13’s leadership is based in El Salvador and Honduras, but the gang has thousands of members across the United States, comprised primarily of immigrants from Central America. Since 2003, hundreds of MS-13 members, including dozens of clique leaders, have been convicted on federal felony charges in the Eastern District of New York. A majority of those MS-13 members have been convicted on federal racketeering charges for participating in murders, attempted murders and assaults. Since 2010, this Office has obtained indictments charging MS-13 members with carrying out more than 45 murders in the district, and has convicted dozens of MS-13 leaders and members in connection with those murders. These prosecutions are the product of investigations led by our law enforcement partners including the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, comprising agents and officers of the FBI and NYPD.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

La Mara Salvatrucha Gang Banger Pleads Guilty To Conspiring To Participate in A Violent Racketeering Enterprise #MS13

Jeffry Rodriguez, a/k/a “Hyper,” age 22, of Capitol Heights, Maryland pleaded guilty to his participation in a racketeering enterprise in furtherance of the activities of the gang known as La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, including his participation in a drug robbery intended to support the gang.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur for the District of Maryland; Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore Field Office; Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of the FBI Washington Field Office; Acting Special Agent in Charge Scott W. Hoernke of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Washington Field Office; Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks; Chief Douglas Holland of the Hyattsville Police Department; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy made the announcement.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty before the Honorable Paula Xinis, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise. 

“The Department of Justice is focused on dismantling transnational criminal organizations like MS-13, which is one of the most dangerous gangs in America,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan.  “I want to thank our dedicated federal prosecutors and federal law enforcement officers with Homeland Security Investigations, the DEA, and the FBI, as well as our state and local partners in Prince George’s County and Montgomery County for all of their hard work on this case.  Today’s guilty plea is our next step toward taking the despicable MS-13 off our streets for good.”

United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur noted “MS-13 is one of the most violent and ruthless gangs on the streets today. Using the tools of our Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, we are determined to dismantle this organization to make our communities in Maryland safer.”

According to the plea agreement, MS-13 is a national and international gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador.  Branches or “cliques” of MS-13, one of the largest street gangs in the United States, operate throughout Prince George’s County and Montgomery County, Maryland. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence within the gang and against rival gangs. One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, known as “chavalas,” whenever possible.

Pursuant to his plea agreement, Rodriguez admitted that from at least August 2016, he was a member and associate of the Sailors clique of MS-13. Rodriguez admitted that on August 9, 2016, he and other MS-13 members conspired to rob two individuals of a pound of marijuana, the sale of which would be used to benefit the Sailors clique.

Specifically, on Aug. 9, 2016, Rodriguez and an MS-13 co-conspirator entered a vehicle occupied by the two victims under the guise that they were going to purchase a pound of marijuana from the victims. Rodriguez and his co-conspirator were armed with a firearm and a knife. Upon attempting to rob the victims and displaying the firearm, Rodriguez and his co-conspirator became engaged in a violent struggle with the victims. During the struggle, the victims sustained serious bodily injuries, including gunshot and stab wounds. In addition, both Rodriguez and his co-conspirator sustained gunshot wounds. After being shot, Rodriguez and his co-conspirator ran from the victims’ vehicle, entered another vehicle in which another MS-13 member was waiting, and traveled to a local hospital, where Rodriguez was admitted for treatment.

Eleven of Rodriguez’s co-defendants remain charged in the sixth superseding indictment with various racketeering violations, drug trafficking conspiracy, and extortion conspiracy. The trial of the 11 remaining defendants is scheduled to commence on March 12, 2019.

Judge Paula Xinis has scheduled sentencing on August 29, 2018.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Animal with #MS13 Admits Responsibility for Murder of 16-Year-Old Boy and Pleads Guilty to RICO Conspiracy Involving Murder

An MS-13 animal pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy involving the murder of a 16-year-old boy in East Boston. 

Jairo Perez, a/k/a “Seco,” 27, a Salvadoran national, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO or racketeering conspiracy. Perez admitted that his racketeering activity involved the Jan. 10, 2016, murder of a 16-year-old boy in East Boston.

Under the terms of the proposed plea agreement, Perez will be sentenced to 35 years in prison. At yesterday’s hearing, the Court accepted the defendant’s guilty plea but deferred acceptance of the plea agreement until the sentencing hearing. Perez will be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Sept. 11, 2018.

The investigation revealed that Perez was a member of MS-13’s Trece Loco Salvatrucha (TLS) clique. Evidence showed that on Jan. 10, 2016, Perez and other MS-13 members murdered a 16-year-old boy whom they believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street gang. The victim was stabbed and shot multiple times. A few days after the murder, Perez was caught on tape admitting to stabbing the victim multiple times, and he was arrested soon thereafter. Perez was also recorded burying the knives used to murder the victim in a park on Deer Island in Winthrop.

After a multi-year investigation, Perez was one of dozens of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 named in a superseding indictment unsealed in January 2016 that targeted MS-13’s criminal activities in Massachusetts. Perez is the 48th defendant to be convicted as part of that ongoing prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts. To date, all eight defendants who have gone to trial have been convicted, and 40 other defendants have pleaded guilty.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

#IllegalAlien #MS13 Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Murder

Earlier, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, Edwin Amaya-Sanchez (“Strong”), a member of the Guanacos Little Cycos Salvatruchas clique of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13, a transnational criminal organization, pleaded guilty to firearms-related murder charges in connection with his participation in the July 14, 2014 murder of Jose Lainez-Murcia, who was shot and killed while sitting in a car outside his home in Brentwood.  The guilty plea was entered before United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Stuart J. Cameron, Acting Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), announced the guilty plea.

“Amaya-Sanchez admitted that he participated in the planning and execution of a murder on Long Island in which the victim was marked for death because he was suspected of having killed MS-13 gang members in El Salvador,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “This Office and our partners on the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force will continue working tirelessly to eliminate MS-13 and the threat this transnational criminal enterprise presents to our community.”

“MS-13 believes it can operate with its own form of vigilante justice, without any repercussions,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “The FBI Long Island Gang Task Force won't allow them to continue terrorizing the community, acting outside of the law.”

 “The Suffolk County Police Department is committed to working with our law enforcement partners in bringing criminal gang members and their associates to justice,” stated SCPD Acting Commissioner Cameron.  “This guilty plea of a murderer will send a strong message to gangs across Long Island that illegal activities will not be tolerated.”

As set forth in prior court filings and the defendant’s statements during his guilty plea, Amaya-Sanchez and other MS-13 members orchestrated the murder of Lainez-Murcia because they suspected that Lainez-Murcia was an assassin who had killed MS-13 members in El Salvador.  Amaya-Sanchez knew where Lainez-Murcia lived, what car he drove, and what time he left for work in the morning, because they previously worked together.  In the early morning hours of July 14, 2014, Amaya-Sanchez drove two other MS-13 members, each of whom was armed with a 9mm handgun, to Lainez-Murcia’s neighborhood and dropped them off.  When Lainez-Murcia left the house and entered his car, the MS-13 members approached and fired multiple times with the 9mm handguns, killing him.  The two MS-13 members ran down the block where Amaya-Sanchez picked them up and drove away.

Amaya-Sanchez, an illegal alien from El Salvador who previously was deported from the United States and illegally returned, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life in prison when sentenced by Judge Bianco on October 17, 2018.  Upon completion of his sentence, the defendant faces deportation from the United States.

This conviction is the latest in a series of federal prosecutions by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York targeting members of the MS-13, a violent international criminal organization.  The MS-13’s leadership is based in El Salvador and Honduras, but the gang has thousands of members across the United States, comprised primarily of immigrants from Central America.  With numerous branches, or “cliques,” the MS-13 is the largest and most violent street gang on Long Island.  Since 2003, hundreds of MS-13 members, including dozens of clique leaders, have been convicted on federal felony charges in the Eastern District of New York.  A majority of those MS-13 members have been convicted on federal racketeering charges for participating in murders, attempted murders and assaults.  Since 2010, this Office has obtained indictments charging MS-13 members with carrying out more than 45 murders in the district, and has convicted dozens of MS-13 leaders and members in connection with those murders.  These prosecutions are the product of investigations led by the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force, comprising agents and officers of the FBI, SCPD, Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, Suffolk County Probation, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, Rockville Centre Police Department, the New York State Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Homeland Security Investigations of @ICEgov traveled to El Salvador to talk #MS13 enforcement across borders

ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York and HSI Baltimore travelled to El Salvador this week with their local law enforcement partners and federal and state prosecutors to attend an MS-13 gang enforcement coordination meeting, hosted by the Acting Executive Associate Director (EAD) for HSI, Derek N. Benner, and the HSI Attaché to El Salvador, Alvin De La Rosa. The goal of this gathering was to share intelligence and strategies in support of both United States and Salvadoran law enforcement efforts to dismantle MS-13 and other transnational gangs, while strengthening cooperation with between both countries .

HSI’s El Salvador country team led an agenda focused on cross border collaboration and joint U.S./Salvadoran efforts on the ground that included the participation of the Salvadoran Attorney General, Douglas Melendez and the Director General of the Policia Nacional Civil, Howard Agusto Cotto. The U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, Jean Manes, and other enforcement partners, participants discussed first-hand issues of gang-violence, insecurity, economic difficulties in El Salvador and their impact on the U.S., as well as our interagency team’s continued effort to confront those problems.

"This is real-time coordination and information sharing, finding ways to leverage both local and international partnerships in combatting this vicious transnational gang. HSI is building on partnerships and pushing out our borders,” said Acting EAD for HSI, Derek N. Benner. “Our bilateral relationship with El Salvador remains stronger than ever, as do Salvadoran social and cultural ties to the United States. This week we highlighted the bonds between us and Salvadoran law enforcement, finding ways to move forward together with a commitment of continued cooperation.”

Discussions held during the three-day meeting included new strategies in enforcement efforts, noting that killing for power and control remains central to MS-13's strategy, but also their extortion activities in both countries that add tremendous amount of pressure on business owners in El Salvador as well as targeting immigrant victims in the U.S. The group also discussed efforts in programs aimed at preventing youth from joining gangs, and rehabilitate those who join gangs, noting potential funding support for youth education and employment activities in the Salvadoran municipalities, and youth programs that deter children from joining gangs, something being debated in both the United States and El Salvador.

The Salvadoran government, with U.S. Embassy support, is combatting gangs and reclaiming territorial control in the highest crime communities, and has succeeded in reducing the homicide rate by 40 percent in the last year. The Salvadoran government is a close and collaborative partner on law enforcement matters to fight gangs with Salvadoran links in the United States.  However, a great deal of work remains to solidify the security gangs of the last year and extend our law enforcement partnership.

Federal, state and local law enforcement partners invited to attend from New York included Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) New York City Police Department (NYPD), the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the Eastern District of New York, the USAO for the Southern District of New York, and the District Attorney’s Office for both Suffolk County and Queens County.  Partners from Maryland included Prince George’s County Police Department, Anne Arundel County Police Department and the USAO for the District of Maryland.

HSI’s International Operations Division is the Department of Homeland Security’s largest investigative presence overseas. Division personnel serve as liaisons to governments and law enforcement agencies across the globe and work side-by-side with foreign law enforcement on HSI investigations overseas. The division’s attachés have a variety of duties, including relationship building and aiding on active investigations and repatriation efforts.

HSI’s National Gang Unit oversees HSI’s expansive transnational gang portfolio and enables special agents to bring the fight to these criminal enterprises through the development of uniform enforcement and intelligence-sharing strategies.

Monday, March 26, 2018

MS-13 #Gangster Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison for RICO Conspiracy Involving Murder Charges #OrganizedCrime

An MS-13 gangster was sentenced in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy involving murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder.

Bryan Galicia Barillas, a/k/a “Chucky,” 21, a Guatemalan national who resided in Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 22 years in prison and five years of supervised release. Galicia Barillas will be subject to deportation upon completion of this sentence.  In October 2017, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.

The racketeering activity by Galicia Barillas, a member of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha (ECS) clique, included his involvement in the death of an innocent bystander in Chelsea. On Oct. 18, 2014, Galicia Barillas and Hector Ramires, a/k/a “Cuervo,” another member of the ECS clique, encountered a group of individuals in Chelsea suspected of belonging to a rival gang.  Ramires, who was armed with a weapon that Galicia Barillas had provided on an earlier occasion, shot at one of the suspected gang rivals and missed, killing an innocent bystander who was looking out a nearby window of a room she shared with her three children. Galicia Barillas was a juvenile at the time of the murder.

Galicia Barillas also accepted responsibility for his role in a Sept. 8, 2014, stabbing and attempted murder of an individual in Chelsea, which Galicia Barillas also committed when he was a juvenile.  Shortly after he turned 18, Galicia Barillas was involved in an April 2015 conspiracy to kill an MS-13 member that the gang believed was cooperating with law enforcement, and a May 26, 2015 stabbing and attempted murder of a suspected rival gang member in Chelsea.

Ramires pleaded guilty in October 2017 to RICO conspiracy involving murder and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 11, 2018.

After a three-year investigation, Galicia Barillas and Ramires were two of 61 persons named in a fifth superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. MS-13 is one of the largest criminal organizations in the United States with thousands of members across the country, including a sizeable presence in Massachusetts. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence, including murder, against suspected gang rivals and those suspected of cooperating with law enforcement. The fifth superseding indictment alleges that, from approximately 2014 to 2016, MS-13 cliques in Massachusetts were responsible for, among other things, six murders and approximately 20 attempted murders, as well as robberies and drug trafficking.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Reputed MS13 Member Indicted in Violent Racketeering #Conspiracy including Drug Trafficking and Extortion

A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging an alleged MS-13 member residing in Arlington, Virginia with conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce by extortion.

The indictment was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen M. Schenning for the District of Maryland; Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan; Special Agent in Charge Andre Watson of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Assistant Director in Charge Andrew W. Vale of the FBI Washington Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Karl C. Colder of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks; Chief Douglas Holland of the Hyattsville Police Department; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.

Luis Arnoldo Flores-Reyes, a/k/a “Maloso” and “Lobo”, 37, is charged in a four-count superseding indictment that alleges that from at least 2015 through January 2018, he was a member and associate of the Sailors Clique of MS-13 and that he engaged in a racketeering conspiracy that included extortion, drug trafficking, murder and a conspiracy to commit murder. The defendant is also charged with drug trafficking conspiracy and conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce by extortion. Flores-Reyes is in custody.

According to the indictment, MS-13 is a national and international gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador.  Branches or “cliques” of MS-13, one of the largest street gangs in the United States, operate throughout Prince George’s County and Montgomery County, Maryland.  Eleven other individuals were previously charged in this case with racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, drug trafficking conspiracy and conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce by extortion.

For a period of time beginning at least in 2015 through in or about 2017, members of the Sailors Clique, including Flores-Reyes, are alleged to have extorted owners of illegal businesses in the Langley Park and Wheaton areas of Maryland, with the extortion proceeds being sent to El Salvador to benefit MS-13.  In addition, between 2015 and 2018, members of the Sailors clique, including Flores-Reyes, are alleged to have trafficked narcotics, including marijuana and cocaine in Langley Park, Maryland, with the proceeds benefiting the gang.

More specifically, in January 2018, Flores-Reyes gave directions to members of MS-13 in Houston, Texas that they should purchase a gun and shoot rival gang members who were believed to have killed a member of MS-13.  On or about Jan. 28, 2018, members of MS-13 in Houston, Texas shot at and attempted to kill suspected rival gang members while Flores-Reyes and other MS-13 members, including MS-13 members in El Salvador, monitored the shooting by phone.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

4 Members of Eastside Loco Salvatrucha #MS13 Clique Convicted

A federal jury in Boston convicted four members of MS-13’s Eastside Loco Salvatrucha (ESLS) clique.

Herzzon Sandoval, a/k/a “Casper,” 36; Edwin Guzman, a/k/a “Playa,” 32; and Erick Argueta Larios, a/k/a “Lobo,” 33, a Salvadoran national illegally residing in the U.S., were found guilty of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy. Cesar Martinez, a/k/a “Cheche,” 37, a Salvadoran national illegally residing in the U.S., was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled Herzzon Sandoval’s sentencing for May 29, 2018; Guzman’s sentencing for May 30, 2018; Cesar Martinez’s sentencing for May 31, 2018; and Argueta Larios’s sentencing for June 1, 2018.  

According to court documents, MS-13 was identified as a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches, or “cliques,” operate throughout the United States, including in Massachusetts. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence, specifically against rival gang members, to gain membership in and be promoted within the gang.  Sandoval and Guzman were the leaders, also known as the “first word,” and “second word,” of the ESLS clique in Massachusetts.

On Sept. 20, 2015, Joel Martinez, a/k/a “Animal,” murdered a 15-year-old boy in East Boston.  On Jan. 8, 2016, Joel Martinez was promoted by the gang to “homeboy” status for the 2015 murder with a 13-second beating by other MS-13 members at an ESLS meeting which Sandoval, Guzman, Cesar Martinez and Argueta Larios also attended. Joel Martinez has pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy and accepted responsibility for the murder and is awaiting sentencing.

The charge of RICO conspiracy provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine provides for a minimum mandatory sentence of five years and up to 40 years in prison, four years of supervised release, and a fine of $5 million. Martinez and Argueta Larios will be subject to deportation upon the completion of their sentence. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Excellent Analysis of #MS13 on Tonight's Episode of @FrontlinePBS - The Gang Crackdown

Given the inflammatory coverage the violent gang MS-13 receives on Fox News, which in turn disproportionately influences President Trump’s statements about immigration policy, it’s great to have the evenhanded reporting Frontline has done for its new edition titled The Gang Crackdown, premiering Tuesday on PBS. While making terrifyingly clear the horrible violence that MS-13 has inflicted upon innocent Americans, The Gang Crackdown also confirms what you might suspect: that the Trump administration policies to combat the gang’s real menace often make things more difficult for law-abiding people and has fostered racial animosity toward legal and illegal immigrants.

The hour-long documentary traces the Central American gang violence that is being exported to the U.S. in the form of MS-13, a vicious group that bullies young people into joining on the threat of death. Producer Marcela Gaviria focuses on Long Island, N.Y., which has been a particular target of gang violence and where MS-13 gang members occupy forested areas of Suffolk County. At least 25 dead bodies were found in that county in 2016, victims of gang violence, brutally killed with machetes and other weapons. Most of the dead are from local immigrant communities.

You’d think there’d be lots of concern for the victims and their families. Instead, right-wing media forces have seized upon the gang’s activities as a justification for all sorts of broad-brush, anti-immigration advocacy, calling for the deportation of people who have nothing to do with gang culture. Once Fox News talking heads like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity started inflating the size and scope of MS-13 out of all proportion, it was only a matter of time before avid Fox News watcher Donald Trump began invoking MS-13 as being essentially synonymous with illegal immigrants.

The Gang Crackdown profiles a couple of young people who were rounded up in anti-gang efforts by local police and government ICE agents. These youths were held in high-security prisons for months with no due process, no access to their lawyers, until their cases were examined. Some were ultimately freed for lack of evidence of gang involvement. The Frontline report makes clear that the Latino population on Long Island is being doubly wronged: victimized by MS-13 but also made hesitant of going to the police for protection, out of a fear of being suspected of illegal immigration status. Thanks to Frontline for crediting us with enough intelligence to recognize the evil of MS-13 without also obliging us to become rabid anti-immigrationists. Is it any wonder that Trump’s newly released budget proposal eliminates funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting?

Thanks to Ken Tucker.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Member of #MS13, "Street Danger", Pleads Guilty to RICO Conspiracy Involving Murder of 15 Year Old

An MS-13 member pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy involving the murder of a 15-year-old boy in East Boston.

Henry Josue Parada Martinez, a/k/a “Street Danger,” 22, a Salvadoran national formerly of East Boston and Montgomery County, Md., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for March 1, 2018.

During an investigation of MS-13 in Massachusetts, Parada Martinez was identified as a member of MS-13’s Molinos clique, which operated in East Boston and other parts of Massachusetts. Parada Martinez admitted that on Sept. 7, 2015, he was one of four individuals who murdered a 15-year-old boy on Constitution Beach in East Boston. Agents subsequently recorded conversations with Parada Martinez in which he acknowledged being a member of MS-13, admitted that he was one of the men who murdered the victim, and identified other MS-13 members who committed the murder with him.

After a three-year investigation, Parada Martinez was one of 61 individuals named in a superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. Parada Martinez is the 26th defendant to plead guilty in this case.

Parada Martinez faces up to life in prison, five years of supervised release, and will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Leader of #MS13 East Coast Program Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy

The leader of the MS-13 East Coast Program pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy.

Jose Adan Martinez Castro, a/k/a “Chucky,” 28, a Salvadoran national formerly residing in Richmond, Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.  U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Feb. 26, 2018.

After a three-year investigation, Castro was one of 61 persons named in a superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts.

MS-13 leaders incarcerated in El Salvador oversee individual branches, or “cliques,” that are grouped into “programs” throughout the United States. During the investigation, Castro was identified as the leader of MS-13’s East Coast Program. On Dec. 13, 2015, Castro was recorded as he ran a meeting of East Coast Program clique leaders in Richmond, Va. During the meeting, Castro and others discussed sending money to El Salvador to support MS-13, the need to work together to increase the gang’s strength and control, and the need to violently retaliate against anyone who provided information against the gang.

Castro is the 25th defendant to be convicted.

Castro faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and will be subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

3 #MS13 Members Plead Guilty in Savage Death of Teen Girl in Gangland Revenge Killing

Three MS-13 affiliates pleaded guilty to their roles in the savage death of a teenage Virginia girl in what prosecutors say was a gangland-style revenge killing.

As part of a deal with prosecutors, Cindy Blanco Hernandez, 19, Aldair J. Miranda Carcamo, 18, and Emerson Fugon Lopez, 17, pleaded guilty to a host of charges that included abduction and in two instances, gang participation. The three will be key witnesses in the trials of three other gang members charged with directly killing 15-year-old Damaris A. Reyes Rivas.

The January killing of Reyes Rivas, which ultimately resulted in the arrest of 18 young people, galvanized the country and highlighted the brutal nature of one of the nation’s most violent and powerful street gangs.

According to the prosecution, Reyes Rivas was taken to a Virginia park, where she was stabbed with a knife and jabbed with a stick by a large group of MS-13 members. Her body eventually was discovered after it was dumped under a highway overpass on the outskirts of Washington, DC.

FBI agent Fernando Uribe testified in July that Jose Cerrato, a 17-year-old alleged gang member, filmed and narrated the killing on a cellphone with the intention of sending the footage to MS-13 leaders in El Salvador. It’s unclear if the video was ever sent to El Salvador, but Uribe testified that Cerrato was promoted in the gang for his role in the murder, the Washington Post reported.

Reyes Rivas allegedly was killed as revenge for the death of 21-year-old Christian Sosa Rivas. Sosa Rivas was killed around New Year’s Eve after he purportedly was lured to a local park by Reyes Rivas. Some of the eight people charged in connection with his death are believed to have thought Sosa Rivas was a member of a rival gang who was claiming to be an MS-13 member, and the defendants’ purpose was “gaining entrance to and maintaining and increasing position in MS-13 according to the Justice Department.”

Reyes Rivas’ killing was uncovered when investigators found the videos of her killing while looking into Sosa Rivas’ death.

According to testimony by Uribe, 17-year-old Venus Romero Iraheta, an alleged MS-13 cohort and girlfriend of Sosa Rivas, blamed Reyes Rivas for luring Sosa Rivas to his death before stabbing her in the neck with a knife 13 times.

Wilmer A. Sanchez Serrano, 21, another MS-13 affiliate, is accused of stabbing Reyes Rivas in the neck with a sharpened stick.

MS-13, which has become a major focus of President Trump’s Justice Department, was founded more than two decades ago in Southern California by immigrants fleeing El Salvador’s civil war. Its founders took lessons learned from the brutal conflict to the streets of Los Angeles, and built a reputation as one of the most ruthless and sophisticated street gangs in the country.

With as many as 10,000 members in 46 states, the gang has expanded beyond its initial and local roots and members have been convicted of crimes ranging from kidnapping and murder to drug smuggling and human trafficking, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jason Shatarsky told the Associated Press.

The gang now has a large presence in Southern California, Washington, DC, and many rural areas on the East Coast with substantial Salvadoran populations like the Carolinas. And in any community where the gang operates, its members often prey on their own people, targeting residents and business owners for extortion, among other crimes.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

#MS13 Member Sentenced to Prison and Deportation for Assaulting 18th Street Gang Members

A member of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha clique in Chelsea was sentenced in federal court in Boston for RICO conspiracy involving the assault of two rival gang members.

Kevin Ayala, a/k/a “Gallito,” 23, a Salvadoran national residing in Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor to 42 months in prison and will be subject to deportation after completion of his sentence. In February 2017, Ayala pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as a RICO conspiracy.

Ayala was identified as a member of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha clique operating in Chelsea. Ayala admitted that in April 2014, he engaged in an aggravated assault upon two members of the rival 18th Street gang in Chelsea.

After a three-year, multi-agency investigation, Ayala was one of 61 individuals charged in a superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. In documents previously filed with the Court, MS-13 was identified as a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches or “cliques” operate throughout the United States, including Massachusetts, as well as in Central America. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence to maintain membership and discipline within the group, such as attacking and murdering gang rivals and individuals believed to be cooperating with law enforcement.

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