Photo: YURI CORTEZ / AFP / Getty Images
Alleged gang members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) were charged with charges that include murder, extortion and money laundering in the states of Maryland and Virginia, the United States Department of Justice reported on Friday.
In Marylando, the defendants are Hernán Yanes-Rivera, 20; Franklyn Edgardo Sánchez, 24; Brayan Alejandro Torres, 28; Agustino Eugenio Rivas Rodríguez, 24; Brian Samir Zelaya Mejia, 23; Miguel Ángel Ramírez, 21; Jorge Isaac Argueta Chica, 21, and Diego Fabrisio Angel-Artiga, 22 years old.
“MS-13 uses violence and intimidation to take advantage of vulnerable communities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Yanes-Rivera and Sánchez allegedly murdered a person after discovering that he was cooperating with the police, and they did so after receiving instructions to that effect from “senior members of the MS-13,” the indictment says.
“Retaliation from witnesses will not be tolerated,” said Erek L. Barron, prosecutor for the District of Maryland.
The prosecutor also indicated that these alleged members of MS-13 extorted community members to support the gang, both in Maryland and El Salvador.
If convicted, defendants face maximum penalties ranging from 20 years to life in prison for conspiracy to be part of a criminal organization and 20 years for conspiracy to extort money.
According to court documents, these defendants were allegedly part of an MS-13 clique that operates primarily in the Adelphi area of Maryland, and extorted multiple victims from whom they collected a “rent” on a regular basis, several of whom allegedly transferred illegally this money to MS-13 in El Salvador.
For its part, in Virginia twelve alleged members and associates of the MS-13 were indicted for their alleged participation in a series of murders, extortion and drug trafficking offenses.
The indictment indicates that since 2017, MS-13 members and associates regularly traveled to and from Long Island, New York, to obtain cocaine and transport it to the Washington, DC metropolitan area, where they sold it.
The indictment also charges eight of the defendants with various crimes stemming from their alleged involvement in four murders that occurred in eastern Prince William County between June 22, 2019 and September 24, 2019.
The defendants face penalties ranging from a legal maximum of 10 years in prison to the death penalty.
The defendants are Marvin Menjivar Gutiérrez, 29; Melvin Canales Saldana, 29; Mario Antonio Guevara Rivera, 26; Cristian Ariel Arevalo Arias, 26; Carlos Jose Turcios Villatoro, 23; Abner Jose Molina Rodríguez, 24; Manilester Andrade Rivas, 32, Jairo Gustavo Aguilera Sagastizado, 26.
In addition, they were accused Walter Jeovanny Rubio Lemus, 27; Juan Carlos Hernández Landaverde, 23; Karen Estefany Figueroa Alfaro, 29, and Juan Manuel Vasquez Reyes, 40.
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