MS-13 Member Pleads Guilty in Connection with Assaulting Gang Rival and Selling Cocaine
BOSTON – A member of La Mara Salvatrucha, or “MS-13,” pleaded guilty on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in connection with attempting to murder a gang rival in Chelsea in 2015 and distributing cocaine.
Jose Hernandez-Miguel, aka “Muerto,” 31, of Chelsea, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity (a/k/a racketeering conspiracy), conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV scheduled sentencing for Feb. 21, 2017.
After a three-year investigation, Hernandez-Miguel was one of 56 people named in a January 2016 superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts.
According to court documents, Hernandez-Miguel was identified as a member of MS-13’s Eastside Loco Salvatrucha (ESLS) clique. As an ESLS member, Hernandez-Miguel participated in violent ceremonies inducting new gang members, known as “jumping in,” and paid dues to fund MS-13 activities in Massachusetts and in El Salvador. As part of his plea agreement, Hernandez-Miguel admitted that he and other MS-13 members attempted to murder a gang rival by stabbing him near Highland Park in Chelsea on May 12, 2015. Hernandez-Miguel also admitted that he conspired to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and conspired with other Chelsea-based drug traffickers to distribute cocaine and cocaine base to a cooperating witness.
An August 2016 superseding indictment brings the total number of defendants in the case to 61. Hernandez-Miguel is the seventh defendant to plead guilty.
The RICO conspiracy charge provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine charge provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and no greater than life in prison, a minimum of five years of supervised release and a fine of $10 million. The conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base charge provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison; three years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Thomas Turco, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections; Essex County Sheriff Frank G. Cousins, Jr.; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins; 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; Chief Brian A. Kyes of the Chelsea Police Department; Chief Steven A. Mazzie of the Everett Police Department; Chief Kevin F. Coppinger of the Lynn Police Department; Chief Joseph Cafarelli of the Revere Police Department; and Chief David R. Fallon of the Somerville Police Department, made the announcement today.