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Press Release

Fugitive High-Ranking MS-13 Leader Arrested on Terrorism Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Defendant Was a Member of MS-13’s Original Twelve Apostles of the Devil and Ranfla Nacional Leadership Structure in El Salvador, Mexico and the United States

CENTRAL ISLIP, NY - Yesterday afternoon, in federal court in Houston, Texas, Cesar Humberto Lopez-Larios, also known as “Grenas de Stoners” and “Oso de Stoners,” a high-ranking leader of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as “MS-13,” was ordered to be transferred in custody to the Eastern District of New York where he, together with 13 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.  Lopez-Larios, who had been a fugitive for more than three years, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) on June 9, 2024 when he arrived at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas.  Specifically, Lopez-Larios is charged with conspiracy to provide and conceal material support to terrorists, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiracy to finance terrorism, and narco-terrorism conspiracy.  Lopez-Larios will be arraigned in the Eastern District of New York at a later date.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY), Krysti Hawkins, Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, and Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent-in-Charge, HSI’s New York Field Office, announced Lopez-Larios’s arrest.

“The arrest of Lopez-Larios, who is one of the most senior leaders of MS-13 in the world, is a significant achievement for law enforcement and another crucial step in the dismantling of this international criminal enterprise,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “The defendant will soon face a reckoning in a federal courtroom on Long Island where, acting on his orders, MS-13 has spilled so much blood and turned communities into war zones.”

Mr. Peace expressed his thanks to the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office and Criminal Investigative Division’s Safe Streets Gang Unit, and HSI’s National Gangs and Violent Crime Unit and New York Field Office for spearheading the MS-13 leadership investigations.  Additionally, he thanked the FBI and HSI’s Houston Field Offices, and the United States Customs and Border Protection Officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston for the critical support provided in connection with the arrest, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the United States Marshals Service for the Southern District of Texas for coordinating the defendant’s 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 and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Executive Office.

“Now that Mr. Lopez-Larios is behind bars, he's no longer in his alleged position of power directing a reign of terror, nor enriching MS-13 and their cartel associates,” stated FBI Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge Hawkins. “The FBI will continue to collaborate with our partners to seek justice and to find the remaining fugitives of this vicious transnational criminal enterprise.”

“Cesar Humberto Lopez-Larios’ arrest represents yet another significant leader of MS-13 to be brought to justice this year. Despite his attempts to evade authorities, Lopez-Larios must now answer to criminal charges stemming from his alleged management of one of the most malicious transnational criminal organizations in existence today,” stated HSI New York Special Agent-in-Charge Arvelo. “Although Lopez-Larios, also known as ‘Grenas de Stoners’ to his followers, is now in custody, we recognize there is more to be done. HSI New York, working with our law enforcement partners, will not cease in our efforts to hold MS-13 accountable for their unmitigated violence in communities across New York and elsewhere.”

As set forth in the indictment and related court filings, Lopez-Larios 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. They 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 the Eastern District of New York in this indictment and the related indictment of United States v. Arevalo-Chavez, et al.

As further alleged, in approximately 2002, Lopez-Larios, his co-defendants and other MS-13 leaders began establishing a highly organized, hierarchical command and control structure as a means to effectuate their decisions and enforce their orders, even while in prison.  They directed acts of violence and murder in El Salvador, the United States and elsewhere, established military-style training camps for MS-13 members and obtained military weapons such as rifles, handguns, grenades, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and rocket launchers.  Further, beginning in approximately 2012, Lopez-Larios and other members of the Ranfla Nacional negotiated with officials from the government of El Salvador (GOES) to obtain benefits and concessions from the government.  In order to extort those benefits and concessions, MS-13 engaged in public displays of violence to threaten and intimidate civilian populations, target GOES law enforcement and military officials, and manipulate the electoral process in El Salvador.

Additionally, as alleged, the Ranfla Nacional directed the expansion of MS-13 activities around the world, including the United States and Mexico, where Lopez-Larios and other high-ranking leaders were sent to organize operations, make connections to obtain narcotics and firearms from Mexican drug cartels such as the Zetas, Gulf Cartel, Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) and Sinaloa Cartel, and engage in human trafficking and smuggling. The Ranfla Nacional also directed MS-13’s large membership in the United States to engage in criminal activities, such as drug trafficking and extortion to raise money to support MS-13’s terrorist activities in El Salvador and elsewhere.  Lopez-Larios, who has been an MS-13 leader for approximately two decades in El Salvador, Mexico and the United States, was an original member of MS-13's Twleve Apostles of the Devil and later became a member of the Ranfla Nacional.  

Finally, the Ranfla Nacional and MS-13’s transnational leadership structure is alleged to have directed members in the United States to commit acts of violence to further its goals and implement rules enabling MS-13 to entrench itself in parts of the United States, including within the Eastern District of New York where, under the defendants’ leadership and rules, MS-13 has committed murders, attempted murders, assaults, kidnappings, drug trafficking, extortion of individuals and businesses, and obstruction of justice, and has sent dues and the proceeds of criminal activity by wire transfer to MS-13 leaders in El Salvador.  For example, this Office's Long Island Criminal Division has prosecuted hundreds of MS-13 leaders, members and associates for carrying out more than 70 murders in the Eastern District of New York between 2009 and the present.

Two related defendants from the Arevalo-Chavez indictment, Jorge Alexander De La Cruz, also known as “Cruger de Peatonales,” 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  Together, FBI and HSI have offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the fugitives. 

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, Lopez-Larios faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

This case was brought by Joint Task Force Vulcan (JTFV), which was created to combat MS-13, led by Assistant United States Attorney John J. Durham of the EDNY, and comprised of U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country, including 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 Southern District of Florida; the Eastern District of Virginia; 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.  Additionally, the FBI; HSI; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the USMS; the U.S. Bureau of Prisons; and the United States Agency for International Development, Office of Inspector General have been essential law enforcement partners and spearheaded JTFV’s investigations.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John J. Durham, Paul G. Scotti, Justina L. Geraci and Megan E. Farrell of the Criminal Section of the Office’s Long Island Division with the assistance of Automated Litigation Support Specialist Michael Compitello.

Newly Arrested Defendant in U.S. Custody:

CESAR HUMBERTO LOPEZ-LARIOS (“El Grenas de Stoners” and “Oso de Stoners”)
Age:   45

Previously Arrested Defendant in U.S. Custody:

ELMER CANALES-RIVERA (“Crook de Hollywood”)
Age:  48

FREDY IVAN JANDRES-PARADA (“Lucky de Park View” and “Lacky de Park View”)
Age:  48

Fugitive Defendants:

BORROMEO ENRIQUE HENRIQUEZ (“Diablito de Hollywood”)
Age:  45

EFRAIN CORTEZ (“Tigre de Park View” and “Viejo Tigre de Park View”)
Age:  54

RICARDO ALBERTO DIAZ (“Rata de Leewards” and “Mousey de Leewards”)
Age:  51

EDUARDO ERAZO-NOLASCO (“Colocho de Western” and “Mustage de Western”)
Age:  51

EDSON SACHARY EUFEMIA (“Speedy de Park View”)
Age:  49

Age:  49

Age:  44

JOSE LUIS MENDOZA-FIGUEROA (“Pavas de 7-11” and “Viejo Pavas de 7-11”)
Age:  59

Age:  51

SAUL ANTONIO TURCIOS (“Trece de Teclas”)
Age:  46

Age:  46

E.D.N.Y. Docket No.: 20-CR-577 (JMA)


John Marzulli
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney's Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated June 11, 2024

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Domestic Terrorism
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