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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Four MS-13 Members Convicted by Federal Jury in Boston

BOSTON – A federal jury in Boston convicted four members of MS-13’s Eastside Loco Salvatrucha (ESLS) clique yesterday. 

Herzzon Sandoval, a/k/a “Casper,” 36; Edwin Guzman, a/k/a “Playa,” 32; and Erick Argueta Larios, a/k/a “Lobo,” 33, a Salvadoran national illegally residing in the U.S., were found guilty of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy. Cesar Martinez, a/k/a “Cheche,” 37, a Salvadoran national illegally residing in the U.S., was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled Herzzon Sandoval’s sentencing for May 29, 2018; Guzman’s sentencing for May 30, 2018; Cesar Martinez’s sentencing for May 31, 2018; and Argueta Larios’s sentencing for June 1, 2018.   

According to court documents, MS-13 was identified as a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches, or “cliques,” operate throughout the United States, including in Massachusetts. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence, specifically against rival gang members, to gain membership in and be promoted within the gang.  Sandoval and Guzman were the leaders, also known as the “first word,” and “second word,” of the ESLS clique in Massachusetts.

On Sept. 20, 2015, Joel Martinez, a/k/a “Animal,” murdered a 15-year-old boy in East Boston.  On Jan. 8, 2016, Joel Martinez was promoted by the gang to “homeboy” status for the 2015 murder with a 13-second beating by other MS-13 members at an ESLS meeting which Sandoval, Guzman, Cesar Martinez and Argueta Larios also attended. Joel Martinez has pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy and accepted responsibility for the murder and is awaiting sentencing. 

The charge of RICO conspiracy provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine provides for a minimum mandatory sentence of five years and up to 40 years in prison, four years of supervised release, and a fine of $5 million. Martinez and Argueta Larios will be subject to deportation upon the completion of their sentence. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Commissioner Thomas Turco of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections; Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Thompkins; Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett; Boston Police Commissioner William Evans; Chelsea Police Chief Brian A. Kyes; Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie; Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary; Revere Police Chief James Guido; Somerville Police Chief David Fallon; and Herndon (VA) Police Chief Maggie A. DeBoard made the announcement.

Violent Crime
Updated February 27, 2018