The Chicago Syndicate: MS-13

Showing posts with label MS-13. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MS-13. Show all posts

Monday, December 09, 2013

24 Imprisoned, 12 More Waiting Deportation as #OperationGas Takes Firearms & Heroin off the Streets and Dismantles MS-13 Street Gang

A sweeping, more than two-year investigation into the trafficking of heroin by armed drug dealers in Providence and surrounding areas has resulted in the imprisonment of 24 individuals, the arrest and detention of 12 others who face deportation on alleged immigration violations, and the dismantling of the MS-13 Providence street gang.

The investigation, dubbed Operation Gas, was conducted by a task force composed of federal agents from the FBI; DEA; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and Homeland Security Investigations; detectives and officers from the Rhode Island State Police Providence Police, Cranston Police, Newport Police, Pawtucket Police, and Woonsocket Police Departments; and prosecutors from the United States Attorney’s Office and the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General.

The investigation targeted the trafficking of heroin from the Dominican Republic and Guatemala to Rhode Island and the distribution of that heroin by armed drug dealers in Providence and surrounding areas. The investigation led to the seizure of more than 23 kilograms of heroin, including the largest single seizure in Rhode Island, as well as the seizure of over 100 grams of cocaine, 15 firearms, more than $400,000 in cash, and 12 vehicles. The drug trafficking investigation led to a subsequent investigation that targeted leaders, members and associates of the MS-13 Providence street gang who were involved in gang-on-gang violence, firearms sales, and drug distribution.

The subsequent prosecution of those involved resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of 24 individuals, including the leaders and known members of the MS-13 Providence street gang, on drugs, firearms, assault, and arson charges, and of a convicted heroin trafficker who attempted to hire a person to murder his girlfriend.

In addition, 12 individuals identified as members and associates of the MS-13 Providence street gang and the SUR-13 street gang were detained by Homeland Security Investigations on alleged immigration violations. Many of the individuals have already been deported.

“Armed gang activity and associated drug dealing continue to plague Providence and other urban neighborhoods across our state,” said United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha. “History has taught us only too well: gangs and drug dealing inevitably lead to gun violence. To effectively combat this violence, we must continue to do more than simply wait for the shooting to stop and assess the carnage. Only a proactive approach, targeting the worst of the worst and bringing them to justice before the shooting starts, can lead to a safer Rhode Island.”

“This is an example where another team challenged ours and lost,” said Vincent Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Division, which is responsible for Rhode Island. “Gang members who want to fill the vacuum left by these arrests should know the Safe Streets Task force will always win over those who chose a life of crime by holding responsible those who put illegal guns on our streets, deal heroin in our neighborhoods, and commit other crimes in our cities.”

"DEA is committed to the dismantling of criminal organizations that bring drugs and violence into our neighborhoods," said John J. Arvanitis, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New England Field Division. "Our commitment is unwavering, and together with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we will continue to target violent drug trafficking organizations operating throughout our communities."

“Cooperation among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors led to the successful disruption of the MS-13 gang in Providence. Targeting criminal activity by gangs and gang members before violence erupts is critical in bringing greater security to our urban communities,” said Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.

“As I have stated in the past, investigations like this are a message as to how we leverage our partnerships and combine our efforts to dismantle organized gang and drug activity. Operations like this are what makes the community safer and also sends a strong message to those involved in the gun, gang, and drug trade,” said Colonel Hugh Clements.

Among the defendants arrested, convicted, and imprisoned as a result of Operation Gas:


  • Jose Victor Fernandez, 47, Providence: Jose Fernandez was arrested in April 20, 2011, following a lengthy investigation into his suspected heroin trafficking activities. In addition to numerous undercover purchases of heroin, law enforcement seized two kilograms of heroin discovered concealed inside car parts shipped from Guatemala to an auto dealership where Fernandez worked. During the investigation into Fernandez’s drug trafficking activities, law enforcement learned that Fernandez was attempting to hire a person to murder his girlfriend. Fernandez was convicted in federal court of attempted murder for hire, as well as multiple heroin distribution charges. Fernandez is serving a sentence of 97 months in federal prison.
  • Jose Dume, Jr., 29, Providence; and Ariel Hassel, aka Miguel Angel Colon, 33, Cranston: In the fall of 2011, the FBI and DEA began investigating a Dominican drug trafficking organization that distributed heroin, and on occasion cocaine, to customers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. According to information presented to the court, Jose Dume, Jr. was identified by law enforcement as the leader of this conspiracy. The investigation revealed that Dume purchased kilogram quantities of heroin from Ariel Hassel. It is estimated that over the course of the conspiracy, Dume purchased approximately three kilos of heroin, often in 500 to 600 gram increments, which he then sold to arious customers throughout Rhode Island.
    • During the course of the investigation into Dume and Hassel’s drug trafficking and firearm trafficking activities—which included undercover drug and firearms purchases, the use of electronic monitoring and surveillance equipment, and the execution of court authorized search warrants and wiretaps—law enforcement seized four firearms, about 2.5 kilograms of heroin, over $400,000 in cash, jewelry valued at more than $60,000, and 12 vehicles from residences in Providence, Cranston, and West Warwick. The wiretap investigation led to the arrest and conviction of 14 individuals including Dume, Hassel, their partners, and drug runners, as well as customers. Among those arrested was Vlady Tejada, a fugitive on federal drug charges out of the District of Massachusetts.
    • Dume and Hassel were arrested by federal agents on May 11, 2012. Dume pleaded guilty in October 2013 to federal conspiracy, heroin trafficking, and firearm charges. He was sentenced on October 21, 2013, to 15 years in federal prison. Hassel pleaded guilty in July 2013 to heroin and cocaine trafficking charges. He was sentenced in July 2013 to 90 months in federal prison.
  • Jorge Daniel Estrada, 19, Providence; and Angel Feliz, 48, Dorchester, Massachusetts: In October 2012, the DEA arrested Jorge Daniel Estrada and Angel Feliz on charges of conspiracy to distribute 17 kilograms of heroin. In addition to seizing 17 kilos of heroin, police seized three vehicles. The arrests of Jose Fernandez, Jorge Estrada and Angel Feliz, prompted by information developed by Providence Police detectives, resulted in the seizure of a total of 19 kilograms of heroin valued at $4.5 million dollars, the largest single seizure of heroin in Rhode Island. Estrada and Feliz have been sentenced to 180 and 70 months in federal prison, respectively.
  • Francisco Bonilla, a/k/a “Cisco,” 35, Providence: In October 2012, Francisco Bonilla, the alleged leader of the MS-13 Providence street gang, was indicted by a Rhode Island state court grand jury on assault and weapons charges. He pleaded guilty in January 2013 and is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence at the ACI. Bonilla, a citizen of El Salvador, will face deportation proceedings upon completion of his prison term.
  • Richard Ibenez, a/k/a "Chinoz", 23, Providence: In October 2012, Richard Ibenez, a member of the MS-13 Providence street gang, was indicted by a Rhode Island state court grand jury on conspiracy and arson charges. He pleaded guilty in January 2013 and is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence at the ACI.

Defendants charged in the U.S. District Court were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adi Goldstein, Paul F. Daly, Jr., Sandra R. Hebert, Milind M. Shah, and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth P. Madden. Defendants charged in Rhode Island state court were prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General James Baum.

Operation Gas Defendants:

Wayne Barnes, 53, Providence
Drug and firearms charges
Three years in federal prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release
Francisco A. Bonilla a/k/a Cisco, 35, Providence
MS-13 gang leader
Assault & firearms charges
20 years, 10 years to serve at ACI; 10 years suspended with probation
Miguel Colon a/k/a Ariel Hassel, 33, Cranston
Heroin and cocaine trafficking charges
90 months in federal prison, to be followed by five years’ supervised release
Faces deportation proceedings
Juan Cotto, 45, Providence
Conspiracy
24 months in federal prison, to be followed by five years’ supervised release
Jose Dume, Jr., 39, Providence
Leader of heroin trafficking conspiracy
Heroin trafficking and firearm charges
15 years in federal prison, to be followed by five years’ supervised release
Faces deportation proceedings
Angel Feliz, 48, Dorchester, Massachusetts
Heroin trafficking charges
70 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years’ supervised release
Christian Ferrer, 28, Providence
Drug source for MS-13 gang
Conspiracy and cocaine trafficking charges
71 months in federal prison, to be followed by five years’ supervised release
Cristian Jimenez, 34, Providence
Convicted at trial in June 2013 on charges of trafficking heroin
Detained
Angel Maria Marte, 49, Providence
Heroin trafficking charges
80 months in federal prison, to be followed by five years’ supervised release
Faces deportation proceedings
Estevan Benzan, 29, Providence
Heroin trafficking
70 months in federal prison, to be followed by five years’ supervised release
Faces deportation proceedings
Janet Cobian, 24, Taunton, Massachusetts
Heroin possession and distribution charges
Five years’ probation
Louis Cortez a/k/a Cholo, 37, Providence
SUR-13 gang member
Firearm possession
Six months' confinement, to be followed by five years’ supervised release
Alejandro Delacruz, a/k/a Alex, 28, Providence
C-Block gang member
Conspiracy and firearm charges
51 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years’ supervised release
Jorge Daniel Estrada, 19, Guatemala
Conspiracy and heroin trafficking charges 15 years in federal prison followed by lifetime supervised release. Immigration detainer lodged
Jose “Victor” Fernandez, 47, Providence
Heroin trafficking and murder for hire charges
97 months in federal prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release
Richard Ibanez a/k/a Chinoz, 23, Providence
MS-13 gang member
Conspiracy and arson charges
20 years, eight years to serve at ACI 12 years suspended withprobation
Michael Linaris, 36, Providence
Firearm charge
24 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years’ supervised release
Yelkis Martinez ,36, Providence
Maintaining a drug involved premises and fraud charges
30 months in federal prison, followed by three years’ supervised release
Faces deportation proceedings
Geovannie Nieves, 28, West Warwick
Heroin trafficking charges
90 months in federal prison, followed by five years’ supervised release
Faces deportation proceedings
Adalberto Pagan a/k/a Bebo, 28, Providence
Firearm source for MS-13
Firearm charges
37 months in federal prison, followed by three years’ supervised release
Vlady Tejada, 33, Boston, Massachusetts
Heroin and cocaine trafficking charges
71 months in federal prison, to be followed by four years’ supervised release
Faces deportation proceedings
Leopoldo Nunez, 26, Providence
Firearms charges
60 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release
Alexander Ramos, 42, Providence
Cocaine conspiracy and distribution
70 months in federal prison, followed by five years’ supervised release
Dewrys Marte Valerio, 28, Providence
Heroin and cocaine trafficking charges
80 months in federal prison, followed by five years’ supervised release

The following defendants were detained by Homeland Security Investigations on alleged immigration violations. Several of the defendants have been deported.

Carlos Esau Arreaga Lopez, a/k/a Duende, 27, Guatemala
MS-13 gang member
Orlando Ramon Gonzalez Lopez, a/k/a Pikachu 33, Mexico MS-13 gang member
Fari Armando Nava Tlapale, a/k/a Fatty, 21, Mexico MS-13 gang member
Alberto Ozuna Ramirez, a/k/a Pepo, 23, Mexico
MS-13 gang member
Jose Leonida Villalobos Rodriguez, a/k/a Jumbo, 27, El Salvador
MS-13 gang member
Victor Hugo Amaro, 30, Mexico
MS-13 gang associate
Arturo Cruz, a/k/a Edison Arturo Cruz Esperanza, 24, Honduras
MS-13 gang member
Fredy Saravia, 37, Guatemala MS-13 gang associate
Edgar Coronado, a/k/a Chino, 33, Guatemala
MS-13 gang member
Luis Salgado, a/k/a Pee-Wee, 22, Mexico
SUR-13 gang member
Wagner Miranda, a/k/a Alex, 23, Guatemala
MS-13 gang member
Jose Borjas, a/k/a Catracho, 36, Honduras
MS-13 gang associate

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

MS-13 Gang Leader, Carlos "Silencio" Ortega Sentenced to Life in Prison

Carlos Ortega, also known as “Silencio,” a former leader of the Sitios Locos Salvatruchas clique of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13 street gang, was sentenced to life in prison at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York. Ortega was convicted, on March 21, 2013, following a six-week trial on all counts of the trial indictment, including racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, murder, assault with dangerous weapons, and related firearms and conspiracy offenses.

The sentence was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Thomas V. Dale, Commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department.

“Ortega’s journey to federal prison began in El Salvador when he joined MS-13 and continued when he illegally entered the U.S. and chose to maintain his allegiance to the gang. Ortega committed heinous acts of violence in the name of MS-13, cutting a swath of murder from Brentwood to Far Rockaway, all within the span of a few weeks,” stated U.S. Attorney Lynch. “From a suspected rival gang member, to an MS-13 gang member who was not violent enough, there was no room for mercy in the gang’s code of enforcing respect through murder. Today’s life sentence is a fitting end to Ortega’s reign of terror. He will now have the rest of his life to contemplate the just results of his allegiance to the killing machine known as MS-13.” Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to each of the law enforcement agencies for their assistance in this case.

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Venizelos stated, “The victims were robbed of their futures by the defendant’s senseless killing spree. His cowardly acts have earned him a life sentence. The defendant’s imprisonment should be a reminder to all those who participate in gang activity that violence and victimization of the public will not be tolerated and will be met with the full force of the FBI. The FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force is committed to ridding the streets of these violent criminals. Our resolve is strong, and we will not stop until every last gang member is brought to justice.”

At trial, the government proved that Ortega, along with his fellow MS-13 gang members, committed two murders and one attempted murder in February and March 2010. First, Ortega was convicted in connection with the murder of 21-year-old David Sandler and the attempted murder of 20-year-old Aaron Galan in Brentwood, New York, on February 17, 2010. Ortega and his fellow MS-13 gang members lured Sandler, whom the MS-13 believed was a member of the rival Latin Kings street gang, to Timberline Drive in Brentwood under the pretext of buying marijuana from him. Once Sandler arrived, Ortega shot him in the face at close range, killing him. Ortega also shot Sandler’s close friend, Galan, who was with Sandler at the time, in the face. Miraculously, Galan survived.

At trial, Ortega was also convicted of the March 17, 2010 murder of Mario Alberto Canton Quijada in Far Rockaway, New York. Quijada, who was a fellow member of the MS-13, was killed because of his reluctance to “put in work,” or attack rival gang members on behalf of the MS-13. On March 17, 2010, Quijada was lured to the beach in Far Rockaway under the guise of attacking rival gang members. Once alone on the beach, the MS-13 gang members tried to shoot Quijada in the head with a semi-automatic handgun, which had been used in several other murders committed by the MS-13, including the murders of a young woman and her 2-year-old son. However, the gun jammed. Undeterred, Ortega and the other MS-13 members set upon Quijada with knifes and machetes and hacked him to death.

Ortega’s 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 street gang composed primarily of immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. With numerous branches, or “cliques,” the MS-13 is the largest street gang on Long Island. Since 2002, more than 200 MS-13 members, including more than two dozen clique leaders, have been convicted on federal felony charges in the Eastern District of New York. More than 100 of those MS-13 members have been convicted on federal racketeering charges. Since 2010 alone, this office has convicted more than 30 members of the MS-13 on charges relating to their participation in one or more murders. These prosecutions are the product of investigations led by the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force, composed of agents and officers of the FBI, Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, Suffolk County Probation, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, Rockville Centre Police Department, and Suffolk County Police Department.

The life sentence was imposed by United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco.

The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John J. Durham, Raymond A. Tierney, and Carrie N. Capwell.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Jose Gustavo Orellana-Torres, AKA “Diablito,” Former Leader of MS-13 Street Gang, Sentenced to Prison

On Friday, United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco sentenced Jose Gustavo Orellana-Torres, also known as “Diablito,” the former leader of the Coronados clique of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13 street gang, to 365 months’ imprisonment following his September 25, 2012 guilty plea to racketeering, including predicate acts relating to the May 26, 2009 murder of Dexter Acheampong in Central Islip, New York, and the July 5, 2009 attempted murder of a suspected rival gang member in Roosevelt, New York.

The sentence was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Thomas V. Dale, Commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department.

According to his plea allocution and documents previously filed in the case, on May 26, 2009, Orellana-Torres attended a Coronados clique meeting in Brentwood, New York, and the MS-13 members agreed to “put in work” for the gang by killing rival gang members. Orellana-Torres and several other MS-13 members drove around Brentwood and Central Islip looking for rival gang members, and Orellana-Torres was armed with a .38 caliber revolver. While in the vicinity of East Maple Street in Central Islip, the MS-13 members observed Dexter Acheampong, whom they did not know but believed, based on the color of his skin and the neighborhood he was walking in, to be a member of the Bloods street gang. In fact, Mr. Acheampong did not belong to any street gang. Orellana-Torres stepped out of the car and fired four shots at Mr. Acheampong with the .38 caliber revolver, striking the victim twice in the back as he tried to escape. Mr. Acheampong was found dead in the driveway of a home on East Maple Street the next morning.

Just over a month later, on July 4-5, 2009, Orellana-Torres attended another MS-13 meeting, this time in Roosevelt, New York. The MS-13 members again discussed killing rival gang members. Orellana-Torres, who possessed the same .38 caliber revolver that night, and other MS-13 members drove around Roosevelt, New York, looking for rival gang members. The MS-13 members observed a man, whose identity is known to the government but is not being disclosed in order to protect his safety, whom they believed to be a rival gang member. One of the other MS-13 members fired several shots at the man, striking him once in the hand.

“The MS-13 street gang has become infamous for its senseless and depraved acts of violence, but even for the MS-13, these vicious crimes demonstrated exceptional depravity. Orellana-Torres and his co-conspirators targeted Dexter Acheampong and another young man, whom they did not even know, because they believed them to be rival gang members,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “This sentence should make clear that gang members will pay a heavy price for such cold, calculated acts of violence.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Venizelos stated, “We cannot overstate our commitment to investigating MS-13 and other gangs on Long Island. As the case of Orellana-Torres shows, MS-13 is not about ethnic pride, it is a violent, murderous horde. It is hard to imagine a more wanton disregard for human life than shooting a person in the back because the color of his skin makes you think he may be a rival gang member.”

Orellana-Torres’s conviction is the latest in a series of federal prosecutions by this office targeting New York members of the MS-13, a violent international street gang comprised primarily of immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. With numerous branches, or “cliques,” the MS-13 is the largest street gang on Long Island. Since 2002, more than 200 MS-13 members, including more than two dozen clique leaders, have been convicted on federal felony charges in the Eastern District of New York. More than 100 of those MS-13 members have been convicted on federal racketeering charges. Since 2010 alone, this office has convicted more than 30 members of the MS-13 on charges relating to their participation in one or more 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, Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, Suffolk County Probation, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, and the Rockville Centre Police Department.

The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John J. Durham, Raymond A. Tierney, and Carrie N. Capwell.

Defendant:
Jose Gustavo Orellana-Torres, aka Diablito
Age: 28

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