(CNSNews.com) – Twenty-four alleged MS-13 members were indicted by a federal grand jury in Baltimore, Md., for allegedly committing five murders, conspiring to murder eight people, engaging in kidnappings, extortion, drug trafficking and money laundering.
In the murders, three bodies were dismembered. Another victim was assaulted with a machete. MS-13, the La Mara Salvatrucha, is an international gang notorious for its brutality and violence. President Donald Trump has described MS-13 gang members as “animals.”
According to a press release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the June 26 indictment was unsealed on July 2. The charges in indictment span from 2015 to 2017.
“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 in the ICE statement.
“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,” said Cronan.
“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.”
According to ICE, 21 of the defendants are charged with “conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise known as the La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13.” The indictment says the defendants allegedly murdered five people in Frederick, Anne Arundel and Montgomery Counties in Maryland.
“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,” said ICE.
The grand jury indictment is a charge; it is not a finding of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.
The maximum sentence the defendants could face, if found guilty, is 20 years in prison for the racketeering conspiracy or up to life if special circumstances are proven; 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering; and 20 years in prison for money laundering conspiracy.
United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur stated, “MS-13 is one of the most violent and ruthless gangs on the streets today. 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.”
Some of the defendants who are charged with conspiracy to participate in the racketeering enterprise are,
- Jorge Raul Guerra Castillo, a/k/a “Pelon,” age 36;
- Carlos Hernandez Diaz, a/k/a “Positivo,” age 25;
- Milton Portillo Rodriguez, a/k/a “Little Gangster,” and “Seco,” age 23;
- Juan Carlos Sandoval Rodriguez, a/k/a “Picaro,” age 19;
- Francisco Ramirez Pena, a/k/a “Tepo,” and “Advertencia,” age 24;
- Jose Alberto Sibrian Garcia, a/k/a “Chango,” age 26;
- Darwin Arias Mejia, a/k/a “City,” and “City Boy,” age 25;
- Miguel Lopez Abrego, a/k/a “Timido,” age 30;
- Albaro Rosa Moreno, a/k/a “Slow,” age 23;
- Ervin Arrue Figureoa, a/k/a “Tricky,” age 19;
- Ronald Mendez Sosa, age 20;
- Edwin Ruiz Urrutia, a/k/a “Sylvestre,” age 19;
- Brenda Argueta Argueta, a/k/a “Prima,” age 19;
- Carlos Ventura Morales, a/k/a “Pantaya,” age 30; and
- Danny Hernandez Solorzano, a/k/a “Titre,” age 20.