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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

MS-13 Member Sentenced to Life in Prison for Gang Murders of Two Teenagers

Defendant used social media to lure and violently murder two teenage boys

BOSTON – An MS-13 member was sentenced to life in prison for using social media to lure and violently murder two teenage boys in East Boston.

Edwin Gonzalez, a/k/a “Sangriento,” 23, a Salvadoran national, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to life in prison. In June 2018, after a multi-week trial, Gonzalez was convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO or racketeering conspiracy. In addition, the jury found that Gonzalez’s racketeering activity on behalf of MS-13 included his participation in the Sept. 7, 2015, murder of a 15-year-old in East Boston and the Jan. 10, 2016, murder of a 16-year-old in East Boston. 

MS-13 is a violent, transnational criminal organization whose members have engaged in acts of violence, including murder, attempted murder, robbery, and assault, as well as other criminal activity, including narcotics trafficking, firearm possession, robbery, and witness retaliation.

MS-13 is organized into smaller groups known as “cliques” that operate throughout the United States. Gonzalez was a member of the Molinos Locos Salvatrucha clique of MS-13. 

Prospective members of MS-13 are required to complete an initiation process and then progress through the ranks: from “paro” to “chequeo” to “homeboy.” To be promoted within the gang, MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence, usually against rival gang members or those suspected of cooperating with law enforcement. Becoming a “homeboy” typically requires the commission of a murder. 

The investigation revealed that Gonzalez was the driving force behind, and key participant in, two separate murders in Massachusetts. 

On Sept. 7, 2015, Gonzalez and three other MS-13 members lured a 15-year-old boy through social media to Constitution Beach in East Boston. Convinced that the victim was a gang rival, Gonzalez and others targeted him by pretending to be a girl on Facebook and lured the victim to the beach for a date. When the victim arrived at Constitution Beach, Gonzalez and three other MS-13 members took turns stabbing the victim repeatedly, leaving him bleeding to death on a public beach. The victim had approximately 33 sharp force injuries and multiple blunt force injuries.

The other three MS-13 members who committed the September 2015 murder with Gonzalez—Carlos Melara, a/k/a “Chuchito,” a/k/a “Criminal,” Henry Parada Martinez, a/k/a “Street Danger,” and Rene Mejia Flores a/k/a “Gasper,”—were also charged in connection with this investigation and pleaded guilty before trial. Melara was sentenced to 36 years in prison, while Parada Martinez and Mejia Flores are awaiting sentencing. 

On Dec. 7, 2015, Gonzalez was promoted to “homeboy,” or full-member of the gang, to reward him for the murder he committed on behalf of MS-13. Melara and Mejia Flores were also promoted to “homeboys” for their role in the murder.

On January 10, 2016, Gonzalez and three other MS-13 members lured a 16-year-old boy through social media to Falcon Street in East Boston. Again, convinced that the victim was a gang rival, Gonzalez and others targeted him by pretending to be a girl on Facebook. Gonzalez then went to pick up the victim, pretending to be a relative of the girl that the victim was supposed to meet for a date. When Gonzalez arrived with the victim in East Boston, the MS-13 members attacked the victim. Three of the MS-13 members, including Gonzalez, were armed with large knives and stabbed the victim repeatedly, while the fourth MS-13 member fired multiple gunshots into the victim. Gonzalez and the other MS-13 members then ran away, leaving the teenager bleeding to death on a public street. The victim had approximately 48 sharp force injuries, multiple gunshot wounds, and multiple blunt force injuries.

One of the murderers was captured on tape stating that the “the dude [victim] was left completely destroyed” and “Sangriento [Gonzalez] whacked the guy’s hands with a machete.”  The day after the murder, Gonzalez himself was captured on tape admitting to the murder and discussing further violence against potential rivals, stating, “we’re going to leave all of them chopped in pieces.”

The other three MS-13 members who committed the January 2016 murder with Gonzalez—Edwin Diaz, a/k/a “Demente,” Jairo Perez, a/k/a “Seco,” and Rigoberto Mejia, a/k/a “Ninja”—were also charged in connection with this investigation and pleaded guilty before trial.  Diaz and Perez were each sentenced to 35 years in prison, while Mejia received 27.5 years in prison. 

Gonzalez was one of 49 defendants convicted as part of this investigation.  All nine defendants who went to trial were convicted and 40 others pleaded guilty. In all, 16 defendants, including Gonzalez, were found to have committed or knowingly participated in murders.

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 John P. Pappas; 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; and Somerville Police Chief David Fallon made the announcement today. The U.S. Marshals Service has provided crucial assistance with the case.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated November 27, 2018