Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis today sentenced Kevin Henriquez-Chavez, a/k/a “Loco” and “Crazy,” age 24, of Washington Grove, Maryland, to 30 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise known as La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13; and conspiring to use and carry a firearm during a crime of violence.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jesse R. Fong of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
“Federal, state, and local law enforcement will continue to work together to eradicate the violence perpetrated by MS-13 in Maryland,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Today’s sentence sends a strong message to MS-13 gang members that their criminal actions cannot, and will not, be tolerated.”
MS-13 is a gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, with members operating in the State of Maryland, including Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Frederick County, and throughout the United States. Branches or “cliques” of MS-13 often work together cooperatively to engage in criminal activity and to assist one another in avoiding detection by law enforcement. In Maryland and the surrounding area, these cliques include Parkview Locos Salvatrucha (“PVLS”), Normandie Locos Salvatrucha (“NLS” or “Normandie”), Sailors Locos Salvatrucha Westside (“SLSW” or “Sailors”), Langley Park Salvatrucha (“LPS”), Weedoms Locos Salvatrucha (“Weedoms”), and Cabanas Locos Salvatruchas (“Cabanas”). MS-13 cliques often combine and work together as “Programs,” with the purpose of increasing the gang’s levels of organization, violence, extortion, and other criminal activity. A person within the participating cliques is selected as the Program leader.
To protect the gang and to enhance its reputation, MS-13 members and associates are expected to use any means necessary to force respect from those who show disrespect, including acts of intimidation and violence. MS-13’s creed is based on one of its mottos, “Mata, roba, viola, controla,” which translates to, “kill, steal, rape, control.”
According to his plea agreement, from 2015 through 2016, Henriquez-Chavez was a member of the Cabanas clique and served as the “First Word” or leader of the clique. Henriquez-Chavez admitted to participating in numerous acts in furtherance of the racketeering conspiracy, including robbery and murder.
As detailed in his plea agreement, Henriquez-Chavez admitted that on November 1, 2015, he and three other MS-13 members and associates were behind an elementary school in Montgomery Village, Maryland, where Victim 3 was also present. Henriquez-Chavez told one of his co-conspirators to get the gun that was maintained by the Cabanas Clique. In order to gain entrance to, maintain, and increase their position in MS-13, the conspirators made a plan to murder Victim 3, whom Henriquez-Chavez and the co-conspirators believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street Gang. Henriquez-Chavez provided instructions that the co-conspirators invite Victim 3 to accompany them into the woods to smoke marijuana and to meet up with a girl on the other side, and told each of the co-conspirators to take a turn shooting Victim 3. Victim 3 agreed to accompany the co-conspirators and was subsequently shot to death.
Co-defendants Jose Augustin Salmeron-Larios, a/k/a “Joseph Morales-Martinez,” “Angel Salvador Gutierrez,” “Yankee,” and “Kean,” age 26, of Severn, Maryland; Noe Coreas-Mejia, a/k/a “Tsunami,” age 22, of Hyattsville, Maryland; and Juan Carlos Espinal-Rapalo, a/k/a “Chiki,” age 21; Daniel Adonai Ramos-Romero, a/k/a “Romero Taylor Binga,” “Taylor Romero,” and “Binga,” age 22; and Oscar Delgado-Perez, a/k/a “Complicado” and “Indio,” age 26, all of Gaithersburg, have all pleaded guilty to the racketeering conspiracy and other charges related to their association with MS-13. They remain detained as they await sentencing.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the DEA; HSI Baltimore, the Prince George’s County Police Department, the Montgomery County Police Department, the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office, and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur also recognized the Montgomery County and Prince George’s County Departments of Corrections, HSI Baltimore’s Operation Community Shield Task Force, and the Maryland Department of Corrections Intelligence Unit for their assistance. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant United States Attorneys William D. Moomau, Ray D. McKenzie, Catherine K. Dick, and Burden H. Walker who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.
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