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Earlier today, in federal court in Houston, Jose Wilfredo Ayala-Alcantara, also known as “Indio de Hollywood,” a high-ranking leader of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as “MS-13,” was transferred to the Eastern District of New York where he, together with 12 other high-ranking MS-13 leaders, are charged with directing the transnational criminal organization’s criminal activities in the United States, El Salvador, Mexico, and elsewhere over the past two decades. Ayala-Alcantara was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the United States Marshals Service (USMS) on April 18, 2023 when he arrived at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas. The day before, Ayala-Alcantara had been located by Mexican authorities, who determined that he was an El Salvadoran citizen with no valid status in Mexico. He was expelled from Mexico to El Salvador but arrested while transiting through the United States. Specifically, Ayala-Alcantara is charged with racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to provide or conceal material support to terrorists, and narco-terrorism conspiracy.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY); Donald Alway, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s Los Angeles Field Office; Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI); and John J. Durham, Director of Joint Task Force Vulcan (JTFV), announced Ayala-Alcantara’s arrest and initial appearance.
“Jose Wilfredo Ayala-Alcantara’s abominable MS-13 career has come full circle — having joined the transnational gang when he lived in the United States, he was deported to El Salvador where he ascended to a leadership position, he is returning to face justice in the Eastern District of New York where MS-13 has wrought so much violence in our communities,” stated United States Attorney Peace.
“As most Angelenos know too well, MS-13 is a criminal enterprise that has wreaked havoc on communities in the United States and beyond for decades,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Alway. “The FBI is dedicated to dismantling this scourge on society and will work with our local and international partners to do so, regardless of where they hide. There is no safe haven for criminals who do the bidding of transnational gangs.”
“As alleged, Jose Wilfredo Ayala-Alcantara has led a life of violence and crime, which propelled him to a leadership position within the Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 street gang,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Arvelo. “Ayala-Alcantara is accused of leading MS-13, directing the gang’s vicious appetite for power through carnage and bloodshed. HSI New York will exhaust every resource at our disposal to ensure criminals like Ayala-Alcantara are located and brought to justice. I commend the unified efforts of Homeland Security Investigations New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Houston, and Mexico City, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation Los Angeles Field Division for locating and apprehending Ayala-Alcantara.”
“For over two decades, Ayala-Alcantara has been a zealous member and leader of MS-13, who directed violence and criminal activity across the United States, El Salvador, Mexico, and beyond,” said JTFV Director Durham. “This arrest marks an important step towards holding Ayala-Alcantara accountable for decades of terrorist and criminal acts that he and his MS-13 co-conspirators have carried out internationally.”
Ayala-Alcantara’s indictment was unsealed on February 23, 2023, following the arrests of three of his co-defendants, Vladimir Antonio Arevalo-Chavez, also known as “Vampiro de Monserrat Criminales,” Walter Yovani Hernandez-Rivera, also known as “Baxter de Park View” and “Bastard de Park View,” and Marlon Antonio Menjivar-Portillo, also known as “Rojo de Park View,” but he remained a fugitive until earlier this week. As set forth in court filings, Ayala-Alcantara and his co-defendants are part of MS-13’s command and control structure, consisting of the Ranfla Nacional, Ranfla en Las Calles, and Ranfla en Los Penales, and play significant leadership roles in the organization’s operations in El Salvador, Mexico, the United States, and throughout the world. In total, 27 of the highest-ranking leaders of MS-13 have been charged in this indictment and the related case of United States v. Henriquez, et al. A grand jury in the Eastern District of New York previously indicted 14 members of the Ranfla Nacional, who functioned as MS-13’s “Board of Directors.”
As further alleged, Ayala-Alcantara, who was one of the founding members of the Hollywood clique of the MS-13 in Los Angeles, California, and later rose to become one of the criminal organization’s highest-ranking leaders, and his co-defendants have engaged in numerous violent terrorist activities aimed at influencing the government of El Salvador (GOES). The defendants have used terrorist violence to obtain benefits and concessions from the GOES and to target GOES law enforcement and military officials. The defendants have actively engaged in public displays of violence to threaten and intimidate civilian populations, to obtain and control territory and to manipulate the electoral process in El Salvador. Several of these defendants have played prominent roles in MS-13’s past and current negotiations with the GOES.
Further, these defendants are alleged to have authorized and directed violence in the United States, Mexico, and elsewhere as part of a concerted effort to expand MS-13’s influence and territorial control. As the leaders of the MS-13 transnational criminal organization, these defendants were an integral part of the leadership chain responsible for supervising MS-13 cliques in the United States that engaged in extreme violence, including numerous murders, attempted murders, assaults, and related offenses. For example, this Office’s Long Island Criminal Division has prosecuted hundreds of MS-13 leaders, members, and associates for carrying out more than 65 murders in the Eastern District of New York between 2009 and the present.
Three co-defendants, Jorge Alexander De La Cruz, also known as “Cruger de Peatonales,” Juan Antonio Martinez-Abrego, also known as “Mary Jane de Hollywood,” and Francisco Javier Roman-Bardales, also known as “Veterano de Tribus,” remain at large. Members of the public with information concerning their whereabouts are strongly encouraged to contact the FBI’s toll-free MS-13 tip line, 1-866-STP-MS13 (1-866-787-6713), or HSI’s tip line at (866) 347-2423 or https://www.ice.gov/webform/ice-tip-form. Together, FBI and HSI have offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the fugitives. Six other co-defendants, Edwin Ernesto Cedillos-Rodriguez, also known as “Renuente de Abriles Dangers,” Carlos Tiberio Ramirez-Valladares, also known as “Snayder de Pasadena,” Dany Fredy Ramos-Mejia, also known as “Cisco de Teclas,” Dany Balmore Romero-Garcia, also known as “Big Boy de Normandies,” “Dig Boy de Normandies,” and “D Boy de Normandies,” Ruben Antonio Rosa-Lovo, also known as “Chivo de Centrales,” and Miguel Angel Serrano-Medina, also known as “Cabro de Park View,” are believed to be in custody in El Salvador.
Since its creation in August 2019, JTFV has successfully implemented a whole-of-government approach to combatting MS-13, including increasing coordination and collaboration with foreign law enforcement partners, including El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. JTFV has also identified and targeted for prosecution the MS-13 programs, cliques and individuals that have had the most violent impact in the United States, and it has coordinated significant MS-13 indictments in U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country, including the first use of national security charges against MS-13 leaders.
JTFV has been comprised of members from U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country, including the EDNY; the District of New Jersey; the Northern District of Ohio; the District of Utah; the District of Massachusetts; the Eastern District of Texas; the Southern District of New York; the Eastern District of Virginia; the Southern District of Florida; the Southern District of California; the District of Nevada; the District of Alaska; and the District of Columbia, as well as the Department of Justice’s National Security Division and the Criminal Division. In addition, all Department of Justice law enforcement agencies are involved in the effort, including the FBI; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the USMS; and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. In addition, HSI also plays a critical role in JTFV.
Mr. Peace expressed his thanks to the FBI’s Los Angeles, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Houston, and Newark Field Offices, who spearheaded this investigation, with essential partnership provided by the Criminal Investigative Division’s Safe Streets Gang Unit, along with HSI’s National Gangs and Violent Crime Unit and HSI’s New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Houston Field Offices. Additionally, FBI Legal Attachés in Mexico City and San Salvador, HSI Attaché Mexico City, USMS Legal Attaché in Mexico City, and the United States Customs and Border Protection Officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston provided critical support in connection with the arrest, as well as the U.S. Attorney's Office and the USMS for the Southern District of Texas for coordinating the initial appearance in Houston.
Mr. Peace also thanked the numerous Department of Justice components that contributed to this indictment, including: the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section; the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Executive Office; the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs; and the Criminal Division’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training, and Organized Crime and Gangs Section. In addition, the Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, and the United States Agency for International Development, Office of Inspector General, have provided critical support for JTFV’s mission.
These charges are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. If convicted, Ayala-Alcantara faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys James Donnelly, Matthew Shepherd, and Stewart M. Young from JTFV, with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul G. Scotti, Justina L. Geraci, and Megan E. Farrell from the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division.
Newly Arrested Defendant in U.S. Custody:
JOSE WILFREDO AYALA-ALCANTARA (also known as “Indio de Hollywood”)
Defendants Previously Arrested and in U.S. Custody:
VLADIMIR ANTONIO AREVALO-CHAVEZ (also known as “Vampiro de Monserrat Criminales”)
WALTER YOVANI HERNANDEZ-RIVERA (also known as “Baxter de Park View” and “Bastard de Park View”)
MARLON ANTONIO MENJIVAR-PORTILLO (also known as “Rojo de Park View”)
JORGE ALEXANDER DE LA CRUZ (also known as “Cruger de Peatonales”)
JUAN ANTONIO MARTINEZ-ABREGO (also known as “Mary Jane de Hollywood”)
FRANCISCO JAVIER ROMAN-BARDALES (also known as “Veterano de Tribus”)
Defendants Believed to be in El Salvador Custody:
EDWIN ERNESTO CEDILLOS-RODRIGUEZ (also known as “Renuente de Abriles Dangers”)
CARLOS TIBERIO RAMIREZ-VALLADARES (also known as “Snayder de Pasadena”)
DANY FREDY RAMOS-MEJIA (also known as “Cisco de Teclas”)
DANY BALMORE ROMERO-GARCIA (also known as “Big Boy de Normandies,” “Dig Boy de Normandies,” and “D Boy de Normandies”)
RUBEN ANTONIO ROSA-LOVO (also known as “Chivo de Centrales”)
MIGUEL ANGEL SERRANO-MEDINA (also known as “Cabro de Park View”)
E.D.N.Y. Docket No.: 22-CR-429 (JMA)
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney's Office