MS-13 Member Sentenced to More Than Seven Years in Prison for Racketeering Related Charges
A resident of Hyattsville, Maryland was sentenced to serve 90 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his participation in the racketeering enterprise known as La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13.
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 Scott Hoernke of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Washington Field Division, Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore Field Office, Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department, Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department, Interim Chief Amal Awad of the Hyattsville Police Department, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy made the announcement.
Jeffrey Rodriguez, aka Jefry Francisco Portillo Corvera, or “Hyper,” 22, had previously pleaded guilty before the Honorable Judge Paula Xinis in the District of Maryland to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise.
According to the plea agreement, MS-13 is a gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, with members operating in the State of Maryland, including Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Frederick County, and throughout the United States. Branches or “cliques” of MS-13 often work together cooperatively to engage in criminal activity and to assist one another in avoiding detection by law enforcement. MS-13 members and associates are required to commit acts of violence within the gang and against rival gangs. One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, known as “chavalas,” whenever possible.
Pursuant to his plea agreement, Rodriguez admitted that from sometime before in or about August 2016, he was a member and associate of the Sailors clique of MS-13. Rodriguez admitted that on Aug. 9, 2016, he and other MS-13 members and associates planned and conspired to rob two individuals of a pound of marijuana, the sale of which would be used to benefit the Sailors clique.
Specifically, Rodriguez admitted that on Aug. 9, 2016, Rodriguez and a MS-13 co-conspirator entered a vehicle occupied by the two victims under the guise that they were going to purchase a pound of marijuana from the victims. Rodriguez and his co-conspirator were armed with a firearm and a knife. Upon attempting to rob the victims, and displaying the firearm, Rodriguez and his co-conspirator became engaged in a violent struggle with the victims. During the struggle, the victims sustained serious bodily injuries including gunshot and stab wounds. In addition, both Rodriguez and his co-conspirator sustained gunshot wounds. After being shot, Rodriguez and his co-conspirator ran from the victims’ vehicle, got into another vehicle in which another MS-13 member was waiting and drove to a local hospital, where Rodriguez was admitted for treatment.
Eight of Rodriguez’s co-defendants remain charged in the sixth superseding indictment with various racketeering violations, drug trafficking conspiracy, and extortion conspiracy. The trial of the eight remaining defendants is scheduled to commence on March 12, 2019.
An indictment is merely an allegation. Those defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
HSI Baltimore, FBI Washington Field Office, DEA Washington Field Office, the Prince George’s County Police Department, the Montgomery County Police Department, the Hyattsville Police Department, the Prince George’s State’s Attorney’s Office, the Hyattsville Police Department, and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office investigated this case. Trial Attorney Francesca Liquori of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys William D. Moomau, Catherine K. Dick, and Daniel C. Gardner of the District of Maryland are prosecuting this case.