MS-13 Leader Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for RICO Conspiracy
BOSTON – A member of the violent MS-13 gang and leader of a local MS-13 clique was sentenced on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in federal court in Boston for RICO conspiracy.
Djavier Duggins, a/k/a “Haze,” 32, of Lynn, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf to 15 year in prison and three years of supervised release. In April 2021, Duggins pleaded guilty to racketeering, or RICO, conspiracy on behalf of MS-13.
MS-13, or La Mara Salvatrucha, is a transnational street gang operating in Massachusetts and numerous other states, as well as countries such as El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. MS-13 gang members often commit acts of extreme violence against suspected rivals, those suspected of cooperating with law enforcement, and others who the gang views as a threat. The gang is also known for recruiting young members at local high schools, who are then groomed to commit violence in furtherance of the gang’s mission. In recent years, dozens of MS-13 members have been convicted of RICO conspiracy and other serious felonies in the District of Massachusetts.
MS-13 is organized into “cliques” or branches operating in local territories. Duggins was a “homeboy,” or full member of the MS-13 gang, and the leader of the “Sykos Locos Salvatrucha” (Sykos) clique of MS-13 for the better part of a decade. Achieving promotion to “homeboy” in MS-13 generally requires the commission of a significant act of violence, often including murder. As part of his leadership role, Duggins personally recruited, mentored and encouraged younger clique members to commit violence on behalf of MS-13.
The evidence in this case showed that Duggins had been a leader of MS-13 since approximately 2006 and was part of the core group of MS-13 members who helped build up the Sykos clique of MS-13 in Lynn. In 2012, Duggins and another member of the Sykos clique participated in an attempted murder during which Duggins stabbed a victim multiple times on a public street. For that crime, Duggins was prosecuted in state court for armed assault with intent to murder and other charges and was sentenced to 54 months in state prison.
The investigation revealed that after Duggins was released from state prison in 2016, he went back to associating with MS-13 and helped co-defendant Erick Lopez Flores recruit and mentor the next generation of the gang. For example, upon learning of a 2016 murder committed by co-defendant Henri Salvador Gutierrez in East Boston, Duggins recruited Gutierrez to the Sykos clique and offered to promote him to a higher rank based on his prior violence.
Duggins remained a leader of the Sykos clique in the years following his release from state prison in 2016. During his leadership, members of the Sykos clique continued to engage in racketeering activity and violence on behalf of MS-13.
On July 30, 2018, six members of the Sykos clique participated in a horrific murder in Lynn where they lured a teenage victim to a playground pretending to be friendly with the unsuspecting victim. At the scene, the gang members surrounded the victim and repeatedly stabbed him to death. An autopsy revealed that the victim suffered at least 32 sharp force trauma wounds consistent with being stabbed repeatedly, along with blunt force injuries to the head.
Although Duggins did not participate in the 2018 murder committed by other members of his clique, the Court noted Duggins’ leadership role and his longstanding involvement in the gang as reasons to impose the 15-year sentence on Duggins.
Following an investigation in November 2018, Duggins was indicted along with five MS-13 members who participated in the July 2018 murder in Lynn. In a related case, the government charged a juvenile co-conspirator who was the sixth person involved in the Lynn murder. All six defendants indicted in this case, along with the juvenile charged in the related case, have pleaded guilty. Duggins is the fourth defendant to be sentenced. On Feb. 16, 2022, Henri Salvador Gutierrez, a/k/a “Perverso,” was sentenced to life in prison. On Feb. 14, 2022, Erick Lopez Flores, a/k/a “Mayimbu,” was sentenced to 40 years in prison. On Feb. 15, 2022, Jonathan Tercero Yanes, a/k/a “Desalmado,” was sentenced to 33 years in prison. Sentencing hearings for the two remaining co-defendants, Eliseo Vaquerano Canas, a/k/a “Peligroso” and Marlos Reyes, a/k/a “Silencio,” have not yet been scheduled by the Court.
First Assistant United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett; Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden; Acting Boston Police Commissioner Gregory Long; and Lynn Police Chief Christopher Reddy made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kunal Pasricha, Kaitlin O’Donnell and Philip Mallard of the Criminal Division prosecuted the case.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.