Maryland MS-13 Member Ordered to Serve Two Consecutive Life Sentences for Federal Racketeering Conspiracy, Murder, and Other Violent Crimes
Also Pleaded Guilty to Illegal Reentry After Deportation and Sentenced to Six Months in Prison
Raul Ernesto Landaverde-Giron, aka “Humilde,” and “Decente,” 28, of Silver Spring, Maryland, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte to two consecutive sentences of life in prison for conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise in connection with his gang activity as a member of La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, and other violent crimes, namely murder in aid of racketeering; conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering; using, carrying and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence; and murder resulting from the use, carrying and discharging of a firearm during a crime of violence. A federal jury convicted Landaverde-Giron of those charges on March 14, after a three-week trial.
The conviction was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur for the District of Maryland; Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County, Maryland Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks; Captain Amal Awad, Interim Chief of the Hyattsville City Police Department; Chief Edward Hargis of the Frederick Police Department; Frederick County State’s Attorney J. Charles Smith; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
MS-13 is a national and transnational gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador. Evidence presented at trial showed that branches or “cliques” of MS-13, one of the largest street gangs in the United States, operate throughout Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and Frederick County, Maryland. Landaverde-Giron was a member of the MS-13 Normandie Locos Salvatrucha Clique.
According to evidence presented at the trial, from at least 2012 through at least 2016, MS-13 members planned and committed numerous crimes, including murders and attempted murders in Prince George’s County and Frederick County. Gang members also extorted owners of illegal businesses, among other crimes. Witnesses testified that MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence to maintain membership and discipline within the gang. One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, known as “chavalas,” whenever possible. Serious violations of MS-13 rules, such as cooperating with law enforcement, could result in the issuance of a “greenlight,” or order to be killed. Participation in violent acts directed at rival gangs, or as directed by gang leadership, increased the respect accorded to that member.
Trial evidence showed that on Nov. 30, 2013, Landaverde-Giron, along with two other Normandie Clique members, murdered an individual in Frederick, Maryland, who had fled El Salvador to escape a greenlight imposed by MS-13 members in El Salvador. After a co-conspirator recognized the victim in Frederick, Normandie Clique members called an MS-13 leader in prison in El Salvador to confirm the greenlight was still in effect. A co-conspirator then lured the victim to a wooded area in Frederick, where he shot the victim in the head and Landaverde-Giron and another co-conspirator stabbed the victim in the face and neck. Landaverde-Giron was promoted within the Normandie Clique for his participation in this murder.
Landaverde-Giron pleaded guilty today to illegally reentering the United States after having been deported, and was sentenced to six months in prison. Landaverde-Giron has been detained since his arrest.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
The investigation was conducted by HSI Baltimore, Frederick Police Department, Prince George’s County Police Department, Hyattsville City Police Department, and Montgomery County Police Department, and the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Francesca Liquori of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys William D. Moomau and Lindsay Eyler Kaplan of the District of Maryland.