FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC at 410-209-4885
January 3, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MS-13 MEMBER PLEADS GUILTY TO RACKETEERING CONSPIRACY
Participated in A Stabbing and Plans to Murder a Police Officer
Greenbelt, Maryland - Ronaldo Diaz Vasquez, also known as Sapo, age 25, of Wheaton, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to conduct and participate in racketeering enterprise activities of an MS-13 gang, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Of 22 alleged MS-13 gang members indicted in 2005 on RICO conspiracy and other charges, Diaz Vasquez is the seventh to plead guilty and two others have been convicted at trial. Six other defendants are scheduled to go to trial in March. No trial date has been set for the remaining defendants, including nine who face a determination as to whether the United States will seek the death penalty.
According to the statement of facts provided to the court as part of the plea agreement, 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..
Beginning at least in 2001 and continuing through August 2006, Vasquez attended various MS-13 meetings and provided funds collected by the gang to other gang members who were incarcerated for acts of gang violence. On October 4, 2004, Vasquez and other MS-13 gang members took part in a stabbing at a 7-11 on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland.
On July 9, 2005, Vasquez and other MS-13 gang members met to plan the murder of a police officer. They discussed moving family members to Houston, Texas so as to enable immediate flight after any action was taken against the police officer. Other meetings occurred during this time, including one in which Vasquez was present and a gang member discussed purchasing firearms to use against this police officer. Ultimately, no attempt was made on the police officer’s life.
Vasquez’s home was searched in December 2004 and August 2005. Gang paraphernalia was found and a machete was recovered.
Vasquez faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for April 2, 2007. Vasquez remains in federal custody.
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 James Trusty and Chan Park, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jaffe, who are prosecuting the case.
This page last modifiedJanuary 3, 2007