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Justice News

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

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ms-13 Member Exiled To 15 Years In Prison For Illegal Possession Of A Gun And Ammunition And Illegally Re-entering The U.s.

Threatened A Witness in the Hours Before His Arrest

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III sentenced Carlos Romero, age 22, a native of El Salvador residing in Baltimore, Maryland, today to 15 years in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for illegal reentering the United States and for being a felon in possession of a gun and ammunition.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Special Agent in Charge Steven L. Gerido of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; and Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts.

According to the evidence presented at Romero’s two day trial, Romero was arrested in the early morning hours on June 8, 2011, after police saw the truck in which Romero was riding spin “donuts” and squeal wheels in an intersection. After stopping the truck, police asked the driver for his license and registration. The driver opened the glove box to retrieve the registration and police saw the butt of a revolver. The officers drew their weapons and placed the driver and Romero under arrest. The driver was removed from the vehicle and handcuffed. As the officers removed Romero from the truck, they saw a bullet slip out of his right front pants pocket, and they recovered another bullet from Romero’s pocket after he was out of the truck. Officers retrieved the gun, a .38 Special loaded with .38 special caliber ammunition - the same ammunition found in Romero’s pocket. Additional ammunition was recovered from the passenger-side floorboard of the truck, along with one spent cartridge casing of the same ammunition.

Witnesses at trial testified that Romero was deported from the United States in April 2010 and had not applied for, nor received permission to return. Another witness testified that a few hours prior to his arrest, Romero had threatened to cut out the witness’ tongue for talking to police about a shooting that had occurred in March 2011, at the bar where the witness worked. The perpetrator of the March 2011 shooting was a fellow MS-13 gang member. After Romero’s threat, the witness contacted a Baltimore Police detective and identified Romero in a photo lineup as the man who had threatened him.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended HSI Baltimore, the ATF, Baltimore Police Department and Baltimore City State’s Attorney's Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Justin S. Herring, who prosecuted the case.

Updated January 26, 2015