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Press Release

Final defendant pleads guilty in racketeering scheme that resulted in the nationwide lockdown of the federal prison system

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Texas

BEAUMONT, Texas – The final defendant in a racketeering conspiracy that resulted in the nationwide lockdown of the federal prison system has pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs.

Juan Carlos Rivas-Moreiera, a/k/a “Juan Carlos Moriera,” a/k/a “Stocky” pleaded guilty on July 2, 2024, for his role in a racketeering conspiracy in furtherance of the violent transnational criminal organization La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13. 

In April 2022, seven defendants, including Rivas-Moreiera, were indicted and charged with the planning and execution of a violent attack orchestrated by members of MS-13 against Mexican Mafia and Sureños associates that resulted in two deaths, two attempted murders, and a nationwide lockdown of all inmates in the Federal Bureau of Prisons for almost a week.  Rivas-Moreiera admitted to his role in the deadly prison attack and faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.  Rivas-Moreiera was the last remaining defendant to plead guilty. 

According to information presented in court, MS-13 is a transnational criminal organization composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, but also includes members from other countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.

The Mexican Mafia controls large portions of the Hispanic prison population in California and Texas and the federal prison system. Although MS-13 has had a symbiotic relationship with both the Mexican Mafia and the Sureños, which is a close association of Hispanic gangs that pay tribute to the Mexican Mafia, that relationship has begun to deteriorate resulting in violent clashes between the groups.

On January 31, 2022, seven MS-13 members imprisoned at the U.S. Penitentiary in Beaumont attacked multiple Sureños members and one Mexican Mafia associate.  Defendant Rivas-Moreiera began the prison attack when he approached Guillermo Riojas and stabbed Riojas twice in the chest.  Riojas fell immediately, and other MS-13 defendants stabbed and kicked Riojas while he lay motionless on the prison floor.  The MS-13 defendants then chased, cornered, beat, and repeatedly stabbed Andrew Pineda, and other Sureños members.  The prison attack lasted approximately three minutes.  Riojas and Pineda died as a result of the attack. 

Defendants Rivas-Moreiera, Alfaro-Granado, and Landaverde-Giron are all serving sentences of life imprisonment for their participation in MS-13 and committing murder in aid of racketeering in furtherance of MS-13.  Defendant Ramires is also serving a sentence of 27 years in federal prison following his conviction for participating in MS-13 and committing a murder on behalf of the gang.

This case is a result of coordination between the Eastern District of Texas and Joint Task Force Vulcan (JTFV), which was created in August 2019 as a whole-of-government approach to dismantle transnational criminal organizations, such as MS-13. Since its creation, JTFV has successfully increased coordination and collaboration with foreign law enforcement partners, including El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala; designating priority MS-13 programs, cliques and leaders, who have the most impact on the United States, for targeted prosecutions; and coordinating 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, such as the Ranfla Nacional, in El Salvador. JTFV has been comprised of members from U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country, including EDTX; the Eastern District of New York; the Southern District of New York; the District of New Jersey; the Northern District of Ohio; the District of Utah; the Eastern District of Virginia; the District of Massachusetts; the District of Alaska; the Southern District of Florida; the Southern District of California; the District of Nevada; 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Marshals Service; and the Bureau of Prisons. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations also plays a critical role in JTFV.

This case is being prosecuted by Eastern District of Texas Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph R. Batte; Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher A. Eason from the Eastern District of Texas and JTFV; Assistant U.S. Attorney Stewart M. Young from JTFV and the District of Utah; and Trial Attorney Jacob Warren from the National Security Division. This case was investigated by the FBI and the Bureau of Prisons.


Updated July 2, 2024

Violent Crime