MS-13 Member Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Racketeering Conspiracy Involving Murder
Defendant admitted responsibility for the murder of a 16-year-old in East Boston
BOSTON – An MS-13 member was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for racketeering conspiracy involving the murder of a 16-year-old boy in East Boston.
Edwin Diaz, a/k/a “Demente,” 20, a Salvadoran national, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 35 years in prison and five years of supervised release. Diaz will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence. In May 2018, Diaz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO or racketeering conspiracy.
After a multi-year investigation, Diaz was one of dozens of leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 named in a superseding indictment unsealed in January 2016 that targeted MS-13’s criminal activities in Massachusetts. According to court documents, MS-13 members in Massachusetts engaged in a variety of racketeering acts and crimes of violence, including six different murders between October 2014 and January 2016.
Diaz was a member of MS-13’s “Westers” clique. On Jan. 10, 2016, Diaz and three other MS-13 members—Edwin Gonzalez, a/k/a “Sangriento,” Jairo Perez, a/k/a “Seco,” and Rigoberto Mejia, a/k/a “Ninja”— murdered a 16-year-old boy in East Boston who they believed was associated with a rival gang. Gonzalez and others used social media to lure the victim to his death by pretending to be a girl who was interested in meeting the victim for a date. Instead, when the victim arrived, Diaz, Perez, and Gonzalez used large knives to stab and hack the victim approximately four dozen times. As they were doing that, Mejia fired multiple gunshots into the victim. The four assailants then left the young boy bleeding to death on the sidewalk.
As part of the investigation, law enforcement captured Diaz on tape admitting his participation in the murder. Among other things, Diaz bragged about stabbing the victim multiple times and stated that the group was “dicing him [the victim] up, like onions.” Diaz also stated that he would have cut off the victim’s head and left it lying on the street if he had the opportunity.
Diaz is one of 49 defendants who have been convicted as part of this ongoing prosecution, and 16 of those defendants have been held responsible for murder. Of the 49 convictions, 40 come from members who have pleaded guilty, including Perez and Mejia, both of whom are awaiting sentencing. Nine others were convicted after trial – including Gonzalez, who was convicted of racketeering conspiracy involving the January 2016 murder, as well as the separate September 2015 murder of a 15-year-old boy.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Peter C. Fitzhugh, 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 Gross; 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 Wes Adams, State’s Attorney, Anne Arundel County (Maryland), Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office, made the announcement today.