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Press Release

MS-13 Member Pleads Guilty to RICO Conspiracy Involving Murder

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Defendant admits responsibility for 2018 murder of a 17-year-old in Lynn

BOSTON – A member of the MS-13 gang pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to racketeering charges and admitted to participating in a 2018 murder in Lynn.   

Jonathan Tercero Yanes, a/k/a “Desalmado,” 24, a national of El Salvador, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf scheduled sentencing for Sept. 15, 2021.

MS-13 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 members follow certain core rules and principles, including that members attack and attempt to kill members of rival gangs, and members do not act as informants or cooperate with law enforcement.

MS-13 is organized in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the form of so-called “cliques” or smaller groups that operate under the larger mantle of MS-13. Tercero Yanes was a member of the Sykos Locos Salvatrucha clique of MS-13. Achieving promotion in MS-13 generally requires the commission of a significant act of violence.

Tercero Yanes was indicted in 2018 following an investigation into the murder of a teenage boy whose body was found in a park in Lynn on Aug. 2, 2018. The injuries to the victim’s body indicated that the victim had been stabbed dozens of times.  As part of his plea, Tercero Yanes admitted that on or about July 30, 2018, he participated in that murder while a member of the MS-13 gang. 

Tercero Yanes is the 4th defendant in this case to plead guilty and accept responsibility for his participation in murder. The remaining defendants in this case are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Based upon his conviction for RICO conspiracy involving murder, Tercero Yanes faces a sentence of up to life in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Tercero Yanes will also be subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; William S. Walker, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett; Suffolk County District Attorney Rachel Rollins; Acting Boston Police Commissioner Gregory Long; and Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary made the announcement.

Updated May 6, 2021

Violent Crime