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Press Release

Six MS-13 Members Charged with RICO Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Five defendants charged with murdering teenager in July 2018

BOSTON – Six members of the violent, transnational organization known as “La Mara Salvatrucha” or “MS-13” were indicted today in federal court in Boston with racketeering.

As alleged in the indictment, as part of the racketeering conspiracy, five of the six defendants participated in the murder of a teenage boy in Lynn, Mass., on or about July 30, 2018.    

The indictment charges the following members of the Sykos Locos Salvatrucha clique:

  1. Erick Lopez Flores, a/k/a “Mayimbu,” 29, of Lynn;
  2. Henri Salvador Gutierrez, a/k/a “Perverso,” 19, a Salvadoran national previously residing in Somerville;
  3. Eliseo Vaquerano Canas, a/k/a “Peligroso,” 19, a Salvadoran national previously residing in Chelsea;
  4. Jonathan Tercero Yanes, a/k/a “Desalmado,” 21, a Salvadoran national previously residing in East Boston;
  5. Marlos Reyes, a/k/a “Silencio,” 22, a Salvadoran national previously residing in Chelsea; and
  6. Djavier Duggins, a/k/a “Haze,” 29, of Lynn.

The indictment also mentions an unnamed juvenile, who has been separately charged in a sealed information, as required by federal law.

Duggins was arrested today and will appear in federal court on Nov. 29, 2019, at 3:30 p.m. The five defendants accused of murder are currently detained on state charges or in immigration custody, and will appear in federal court in the days ahead.

As alleged in court documents, on Aug. 2, 2018, law enforcement officers responded to Henry Avenue Playground in Lynn, where a civilian had encountered the dead body of a young boy lying in a wooded area. Based on the condition of the body, it appeared that the victim had been murdered a few days prior to when the body was discovered.

It is alleged that Lopez, Salvador, Vaquerano, Tercero, and Reyes murdered the victim with premeditated malice, and with extreme atrocity and cruelty. The evidence includes a recording of Salvador allegedly describing the murder in graphic detail, including how he, Vaquerano, Tercero, and Yanes stabbed the victim numerous times while Lopez assisted. The recording also described Duggins as being a leader of the clique. The victim was allegedly targeted because the gang believed the victim had been cooperating with law enforcement. 

“MS-13 is a ruthless, transnational gang operating in our backyard,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “This group routinely commits senseless acts of violence, including murder, to maintain control and instill fear. Dismantling MS-13 in Massachusetts and elsewhere is a top priority of the Department of Justice. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies will continue working together to investigate and hold MS-13 members responsible for these heinous crimes.”

“The murder of 17-year old Herson Rivas is another sobering example of the savagery of MS-13, the ruthlessness of its members, and the utter disregard they have for law and order, our communities, and the opportunities afforded to them while here in the United States. This barbaric behavior cannot and will not be tolerated, and law enforcement at all levels will continue to use all available resources, aggressively exploit all available intelligence, and work as one integrated team with the sole intention of preventing additional murders or future acts of violence,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “I commend the FBI's North Gang Task Force for their unwavering pursuit of MS-13, the tremendous work conducted by our federal, state and local law enforcement partners regarding this threat, and the proactive efforts undertaken to move and share intelligence, all in an effort to stem the flow of violence. There is no place in society for MS-13---their violence and tactics need to be stopped---and this gang must be dismantled at all levels.”

“Today’s enforcement action demonstrates our continued unrelenting commitment to take the fight to MS-13,” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, Boston. “Working closely with our state, local and federal partners, HSI is determined to dismantle this organization to make our communities in Massachusetts a safer place to live.”

“The brutal violence that is the hallmark of MS-13 is well-documented, and this case was yet another example of the gang’s ruthlessness,” said Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. “I am extremely proud of the superb work done by the MSP Gang Unit, the State Police Detective Unit for Essex County, and the North Shore Gang Task Force, in conjunction with our federal and local partners, to speak for Herson Rivas and to seek justice for his family by developing the evidence that led to these indictments.”

“These indictments represent an extraordinary collaboration among local, state and federal law enforcement officers who worked tirelessly to identify and apprehend those responsible for the brutal murder of a 17-year old in a city park where children play.” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. “This combined effort should serve as notice to those who engage in gang activity and indiscriminate violence, that we will not rest in our pursuit of justice on behalf of victims and our duty to protect the community from this scourge.”

“I would like to commend the members of the Lynn Police Criminal Investigation Division, the Essex County State Police Detectives Unit, and the FBI for their work on this investigation,” said Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary. “This was a very sensitive investigation from the beginning and because of the efforts of the investigators those responsible will be brought to justice. Our condolences go out to the Rivas family for their loss.”

According to court documents, MS-13 is a violent street gang 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, and to attack and murder those suspected of cooperating with law enforcement. MS-13 often recruits younger members from schools and communities with large immigrant populations from Central America.

The charge of RICO conspiracy typically provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.  However, Lopez, Salvador, Vaquerano, Tercero, and Reyes face up to life in prison because their racketeering activity involved murder.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Lelling; FBI Boston SAC Shaw; HSI Boston SAC Fitzhugh; MSP Colonel Gilpin; Essex DA Blodgett; and Lynn Police Chief Mageary made the announcement today. The  Boston, Chelsea, and Peabody Police Departments provided assistance with the investigation.

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

Updated November 28, 2018

Violent Crime