Twenty-Four Alleged MS-13 Members Facing Federal Indictment for Violent Racketeering, Murder, and Money Laundering Conspiracies
A federal grand jury has returned a third superseding indictment charging 24 alleged members and associates of the gang MS-13. The indictment was returned on June 27, and unsealed yesterday.
The indictment was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur for the District of Maryland; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the FBI, Baltimore Field Office; Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) Baltimore Office; Chief Edward G. Hargis of the Frederick City Police Department; Frederick County State’s Attorney J. Charles Smith III; Chief Timothy J. Altomare of the Anne Arundel County Police Department; Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Wes Adams; Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
“MS-13 is ravaging communities throughout the United States with brutal violence, recruiting children to their murderous ranks, destroying families, and leaving behind countless victims,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “This indictment — which charges two dozen alleged MS-13 members with senseless acts of violence — is the latest example of the Department of Justice’s unwavering commitment to combatting violent gangs that prey on communities, whether in Maryland or elsewhere in our country.”
“MS-13 is one of the most violent and ruthless gangs on the streets today,” said U.S. Attorney Hur. “Working with our state and local partners, and 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.”
“This indictment is a direct result of the hard work and dedication shared by state, local and federal authorities in their efforts to combat violent gangs in our Maryland communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson, of the FBI’s Baltimore Division. “We are committed to combating this epidemic of violence that often takes young lives and creates fear in our communities. The FBI and our partners will aggressively pursue gangs wherever they surface and are steadfast to making Maryland a safe place for our citizens.”
“We will not allow MS-13 and its members or their affiliates to bring their nefarious and deadly activities into our neighborhoods,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant. “I am proud of the dedicated agents who have duly executed their duties in our collective pursuit of law, order and justice.”
Twenty-one defendants are charged with conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise known as La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, including:
- Jorge Raul Guerra Castillo, aka “Pelon,”36;
- Carlos Hernandez Diaz, aka “Positivo,” 25;
- Milton Portillo Rodriguez, aka “Little Gangster,” and “Seco,” 23;
- Juan Carlos Sandoval Rodriguez, aka “Picaro,” 19;
- Francisco Ramirez Pena, aka “Tepo,” and “Advertencia,” 24;
- Jose Alberto Sibrian Garcia, aka “Chango,” 26;
- Darwin Arias Mejia, aka “City,” and “City Boy,” 25;
- Miguel Lopez Abrego, aka “Timido,” 30;
- Albaro Rosa Moreno, aka “Slow,” 23;
- Ervin Arrue Figureoa, aka “Tricky,” 19;
- Ronald Mendez Sosa, 20;
- Edwin Ruiz Urrutia, aka “Sylvestre,” 19:
- Brenda Argueta Arguete, aka “Prima,” 19;
- Carlos Ventura Morales, aka “Pantaya,” 30; and
- Danny Hernandez Solorzano, aka “Titre,” 20.
The names of six other defendants charged in the racketeering conspiracy remain sealed.
In addition, Darvin Guerra Zacarias, aka “Chapin,” 26, and Luis Fernando Cruz Rodriguez, aka “Catra,” 21, are charged with conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, along with Guerra Castillo, Hernandez Diaz, Portillo Rodriguez, Sandoval Rodriguez, Ramirez Pena, Arias Mejia, Rosa Moreno, Arrue Figueroa, Mendez Sosa, Ruiz Urrutia, and Argueta Argueta.
Samuel Diaz-Ramos, aka “Pequeno,” 32, is charged with money laundering conspiracy.
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, allegedly operate throughout Frederick County, Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County, Maryland. All of the defendants except for Rosa Moreno were allegedly members and associates of the Fulton Locotes Salvatrucha Fulton clique of MS-13. Rosa Moreno was an alleged member and associate of the Parkview Locos Salvatrucha clique Parkview of MS-13.
The six-count indictment alleges that from 2015 and continuing through 2017, MS-13 members and associates engaged in racketeering activity that included murders, conspiracies to commit murder, attempted murders, extortion, robbery, kidnapping, drug trafficking and money laundering.
Specifically, the indictment alleges that the defendants murdered five individuals in Frederick, Anne Arundel, and Montgomery Counties, Maryland, dismembering three of them. In addition, the defendants allegedly conspired to murder eight individuals, maiming and assaulting one of the individuals with a machete, shooting one individual in the head, and kidnapping and threatening another individual with a firearm to extract payment for extortion.
Initial appearances for the defendants were scheduled in U.S. District Court in Baltimore starting yesterday.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The investigation was conducted by FBI Baltimore Field Office; HSI Baltimore; the Frederick City Police Department; the Anne Arundel, Montgomery, and Prince George’s County Police Departments; and the Anne Arundel, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George’s County States Attorneys with assistance from the Baltimore County Police Department. Trial Attorney Catherine K. Dick of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth S. Clark and Matthew Dellabetta of the District of Maryland are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.