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Press Release

MS-13 Member Pleads Guilty to Rico Conspiracy Involving Cocaine Trafficking

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

BOSTON – A member of MS-13’s Eastside Loco Salvatrucha (ESLS) clique in the metro Boston area, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to RICO conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.


Efrain Yanes-Vasquez, a/k/a “Caballo,” 35, an El Salvadorian national living in Chelsea and Pittsfield, Mass., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy, and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for July 27, 2017. Under the terms of the plea agreement, parties both recommend that Yanes-Vasquesz be sentenced to 87 months in prison. He will also be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence.


After a three-year investigation, Yanes-Vasquez was one of 61 defendants named in a superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. According to court documents, MS-13 is a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches or “cliques” operate throughout the United States, including Massachusetts. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence against rival gang members to gain promotions and to maintain membership and discipline within the group. Specifically, MS-13 members are required to attack and murder rival gang members whenever possible. During the investigation, Yanes-Vasquez was identified as a member of the ESLS clique in the metro Boston area. In furtherance of the MS-13 RICO conspiracy, Yanes-Vasquez and several other MS-13 members conspired to transport and distribute kilogram-sized quantities of cocaine in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. When Yanes-Vasquez was arrested in Pittsfield, Mass. on Sept. 15, 2016, federal agents seized a loaded firearm from his residence.


The RICO conspiracy charge provides for 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 cocaine charge provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, at least 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.


Yanes-Vasquez is the fifteenth defendant to plead guilty in this case.


Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; 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; Commissioner Thomas Truco 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 Joseph Cafarelli; and Somerville Police Chief David Fallon made the announcement.


The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Updated April 27, 2017

Violent Crime