MS-13 Member Sentenced for RICO Conspiracy Involving Cocaine Trafficking
BOSTON – A member of MS-13’s Eastside Loco Salvatrucha (ESLS) clique in Chelsea was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for RICO conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
Efrain Yanes Vasquez, a/k/a “Caballo,” 35, a Salvadorian national residing in Chelsea and Pittsfield, was sentenced to 87 months in prison and will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence. On April 27, 2017, Yanes Vasquez pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
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, several cooperating witnesses identified Yanes Vasquez as a widely-respected “homeboy,” or full member in MS-13’s ESLS clique. Federal agents recorded an ESLS clique meeting during which Yanes Vasquez urged his fellow clique members to assault a garage owner with a firearm. Yanes Vasquez also participated in “protection details” where, in exchange for cash, he “protected” what he believed to be multi-kilogram cocaine shipments. In fact, agents watched as Yanes Vasquez and other MS-13 members picked up cocaine from an undercover police officer and delivered it to another undercover police officer. When Yanes Vasquez was arrested in Pittsfield, on Sept. 15, 2016, agents seized a loaded .45 caliber handgun, a bag containing 28 loose rounds of .45 caliber ammunition, a box containing 50 packaged rounds of .45 caliber ammunition, and two altered social security cards from his residence.
Yanes Vasquez is the 10th defendant to be sentenced 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.