FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC at 410-209-4885
October 16, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MS-13 MEMBER SENTENCED FOR RACKETEERING CONSPIRACY
Defendant Was Charged in 2005 RICO Indictment
GREENBELT, Maryland - Juan Lopez a/k/a “Diabolico,” age 20, of Riverdale, Maryland, was sentenced today to 87 months in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release for conspiracy to conduct and participate in the activities of a racketeering enterprise, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to the plea agreement presented to the court on June 28, 2006, La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13 gang (hereafter “MS-13"), is a gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, with members operating throughout Prince George’s County and Montgomery County, Maryland, and elsewhere. MS-13 is a national and international criminal organization with approximately 10,000 members regularly conducting gang activities in at least ten states and the District of Columbia, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador. MS-13 is one of the largest street gangs in the United States. Gang members actively recruit members, including juveniles, from communities with a large number of immigrants from El Salvador.
Beginning at least in August 2004 and continuing through August 2006, Juan Lopez was associated with MS-13 and conspired to participate in its illegal activities. Specifically, Lopez possessed a weapon in order to be prepared to engage in assaults against rival gang members. On September 24, 2004, he participated in an armed robbery with other MS-13 gang members in Montgomery County, Maryland. He was arrested on September 25, 2004, pled guilty (under the alias name Juan Pablo Arevalo), and was sentenced to prison. He was released on February 14, 2005.
On March 26, 2005, Lopez and other MS-13 gang members confronted rival gang members from Lewisdale. The altercation took place outside a strip mall in Prince George’s County. The gang members contacted other gang members who arrived on the scene. Two of the MS-13 gang members searched for the rival gang members and identified a car containing some of the men. One of the MS-13 gang members took out a .38 caliber revolver wrapped in a dark colored bandana, and fired several shots from the driver’s seat of his car. A 15 year old male was killed. The MS-13 gang member drove the vehicle away from the scene of the murder and its occupants then met up with Lopez and other participants in the initial verbal confrontation. At that meeting, Lopez and others burned the bandana that had been wrapped around the murder weapon. In addition, the participants in that meeting discussed the shooting and disposing of evidence, including the gun and vehicle.
Lopez was arrested on August 25, 2005. Lopez stated that he had been a member of MS-13 for three years with the Guanacos Little Cycos Salvatruchos (GLCS) clique from Fairfax, Virginia. He said he was “jumped in” when he was 17 years old. He also said that he was not part of any cliques with MS-13 in this area. He later recanted and stated that he was a member of the MS-13 Langley Park Salvatruchos (LPS) clique. He stated that he has been a member for only one year, and that he had only attended one meeting. He said that meeting was at an unidentified house somewhere in Langley Park, Maryland. He claimed that his moniker with MS-13 is “Diablo,” translated to mean “Devil.” When asked about his involvement in the shooting/homicide on March 26, 2005, he falsely denied any knowledge of the incident.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Prince George’s County Police Department; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the Montgomery County Police Department; the Howard County Police Department; the Maryland National Capital Park Police; the Maryland State Police and the Fairfax County, Virginia Police Department. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandra Wilkinson and James M. Trusty, and Prince George’s County Assistant State’s Attorney Laura Gwinn, who are prosecuting the case.
This page last modifiedOctober 16, 2006