MS-13 Member Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy Involving Murder and Attempted Murder
A Maryland man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise by murdering a suspected rival gang member and attempting to murder two other victims, in connection with his MS-13 gang activities.
According to his plea agreement and other court documents, from March 2016, Moises Alexis Reyes-Canales, aka Sicopita, 23, of Annapolis, was a member and associate of MS-13, and participated in a racketeering conspiracy that included assaults, murder, attempted murder, robbery, and drug trafficking. Specifically, Reyes-Canales admitted that he participated in the murder of a suspected rival gang member and conspired and attempted to murder two victims in Annapolis. In addition, between January 2016 and February 2017, Reyes-Canales and other MS-13 members/associates sold marijuana to raise funds for the gang. The drug proceeds were used for, among other purposes, the purchase of more narcotics, weapons, and to send to MS-13 members and associates in other states and in El Salvador.
“Reyes-Canales and his co-defendants committed murder, attempted murders, and other violent crimes on behalf of MS-13, causing lasting harm to victims and the Annapolis community,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Through the diligent efforts of law enforcement and department prosecutors, these defendants will no longer harm and intimidate the Annapolis community. We will continue our relentless pursuit of MS-13 gang members, both in the United States and internationally.”
“The violence perpetrated by Reyes-Canales and his fellow MS-13 members was brutal and tragic and is totally unacceptable,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner of the District of Maryland. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland and our local and state partners are working together to remove these violent gang members and to keeping our communities safe from the violent threat of MS-13. We continue to work with our counterparts here and abroad to bring to justice these transnational gangs. We need the continued help of members of our communities in order to carry on our work against MS-13.”
“This case illustrates that gang organizations are driven by greed and profit no matter the cost to innocent lives or our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge James Mancuso for the Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Baltimore Field Office. “It is HSI’s priority to investigate crimes related to transnational gang violence, a duty we diligently and systematically discharge with the help of our federal, state, local and international law enforcement partners.”
“ATF is committed to focusing our efforts on identifying and investigating those who use violence and firearms to intimidate and brutalize others,” said Special Agent in Charge Tim Jones of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division. “The strong partnerships ATF has with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, as well as prosecutors, are crucial in targeting these offenders and dismantling the violent gangs who try to take over communities.”
Co-defendants Marlon Cruz-Flores, 25, and Manuel Martinez-Aguilar, aka “El Lunatic” and “Zomb,” 22, both of Annapolis, previously pleaded guilty to the racketeering conspiracy and gun charge. Cruz-Flores was sentenced to 38 years in prison and Martinez-Aguilar was sentenced to 24 years. Co-defendant Fermin Gomez-Jimenez, 23, of Annapolis, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise and to using, carrying, and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 18. Co-defendant David Diaz-Alvarado, 20, of Annapolis, pleaded guilty to murder in aid of racketeering in connection with his MS-13 gang activities. Co-defendant, Juan Carlos Sandoval-Rodriguez, 23, of Annapolis, was convicted on Oct. 31, 2019, of murder in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering after an 11-day jury trial for the murder of Victim 1. He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison at his sentencing which will be scheduled at a later date. All of the defendants remain detained.
Reyes-Canales and the government have agreed that, if the court accepts the plea terms, Reyes-Canales will be sentenced to 35 years in federal prison. Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar has scheduled sentencing for Reyes-Canales on Sept. 19.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
HSI, ATF, the Anne Arundel Police Department, the Annapolis Police Department and the Anne Arundel State’s Attorney Office investigated the case.
Trial Attorneys Matthew Hoff and Samantha Mildenberg Loiero of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Stendig of the District of Maryland are prosecuting the case.
Anyone with information about MS-13 is encouraged to provide their tips to law enforcement. The FBI and HSI both have nationwide tiplines that you can call to report what you know. You can reach the FBI at 1-866-STP-MS13 (1-866-787-6713), or you can call HSI at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.