Six Alleged MS-13 Members Indicted In Federal Court For Violent Racketeering Conspiracy
Gang Members Allegedly Committed Three Murders, Attempted Murders, and Beatings
Greenbelt, Maryland – A federal grand jury returned a second superseding indictment charging six men in connection with a conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise known as the La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. The indictment was returned on March 27, 2017 and charges the following defendants:
Jose Augustin Salmeron-Larios, a/k/a Joseph Morales-Martinez, Angel Salvador Gutierrez,
Yankee, and Kean, age 24, of Severn, Maryland;
Noe Coreas-Mejia, a/k/a Tsunami, age 20, of Langley Park, Maryland;
Oscar Ernesto Delgado-Perez, a/k/a Indio and Complicado, age 28, of Gaithersburg, Maryland;
Juan Carlos Espinal-Rapalo, a/k/a Chiki, age 19, of Gaithersburg;
Daniel Adonai Ramos-Romero, a/k/a Taylor Romero and Binga, age 20, of Gaithersburg; and
Kevin Henriquez-Chavez, a/k/a Loco and Crazy, age 22, of Washington Grove, Maryland.
All of the defendants are in custody.
The second superseding indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; Chief Hank Stawinski of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
MS-13 is a national and international gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador. Branches or “cliques” of MS-13, one of the largest street gangs in the United States, operate throughout Prince George’s County and Montgomery County, Maryland. MS-13 cliques 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”). 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, controlla,” which translates to, “kill, steal, rape, control.”
MS-13 members and associates meet in their clique on a regular basis to discuss gang affairs and report on acts of violence committed by their members, with the goal of inciting and encouraging further violence. Any perceived indiscretions by members and associates or violations of rules are talked about at clique meetings and punishments or “violations” are issued. Violations often take the form of beatings by fellow members. More serious violations result in the issuance of a “greenlight.” A greenlight is an order and/or approval to kill.
According to the indictment, Salmeron-Larios was a member of the PVLS clique and a leader within MS-13 in Maryland. Corea-Mejia was a member and associate of the PVLS clique; Delgado-Perez was a member of the SLSW clique; and Espinal-Rapalo, Ramos-Romero and Henriquez-Chavez were members and associates of the Cabanas clique
The 11-count indictment alleges that from before 2015 through 2017, the defendants were members and associates of MS-13 who planned and committed murders, attempted murders and extortion. The defendants and other MS-13 members and associates agreed to purchase, maintain, and circulate weapons and firearms for use in criminal activity by MS-13 members. In addition, the defendants and other MS-13 members and associates received income from sources including extorting business persons, and drug distribution. Funds obtained through criminal activities were used for gang purposes such as obtaining weapons and providing support for MS-13 gang members, including those in prison in the United States and in El Salvador.
According to the indictment, on November 1, 2015, Espinal-Rapalo, Ramos-Romero, Henriquez-Chavez and another member of the Cabanas clique planned to kill a person that Espinal-Rapalo and other MS-13 members had previously robbed, because they believed the victim was associated with a rival gang. That same day, Espinal-Rapalo and Ramos-Romero lured the victim to a wooded area behind a school in Montgomery Village, where they each shot the victim, killing him.
The indictment further alleges that in November 2015, Salmeron-Larios and other MS-13 members and associates planned to kill an individual and lured that person to a location in Prince George’s County, under the guise that a female would be meeting the victim at that location. An MS-13 associate who was with Salmeron-Larios at the location attempted to kill the victim and another person on November 7, 2015. According to the indictment, on December 6, 2015, Coreas-Mejia and other MS-13 members and associates assaulted a victim as part of a disciplinary proceeding, where the victim was beaten by MS-13 members and associates while Coreas-Mejia counted. The indictment alleges that after the victim reported the assault to police, Coreas-Mejia and other MS-13 members lured the victim to a secluded area beneath an Interstate 495 overpass in the Silver Spring area, where they killed the victim. In June 2016, the indictment alleges that Delgado-Perez directed a MS-13 associate to lure a person to a wooded area in the Gaithersburg, Maryland, area of Montgomery County, where Delgado-Perez and MS-13 members and associates murdered the victim.
The indictment alleges that between January and December 2015, Coreas-Mejia and others extorted money from two victims, and from 2015 through 2016, Salmeron-Larios collected “rent” or extortion money from illegal businesses operating throughout Prince George’s County. Finally, Henriquez-Chavez is alleged to have threatened to kill a victim, and the victim’s family, if that person did not prove that they were not cooperating with law enforcement.
The defendants all face a maximum sentence of life in prison for conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise. Coreas-Mejia also faces life in prison for murder in aid of racketeering. All the defendants, except Delgado-Perez, also face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering. Salmeron-Larios also faces: a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison each, for attempted murder in aid of racketeering, and for transfer of a firearm for use in a crime of violence; a mandatory 10 years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, and up to life in prison, for using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence; and a maximum of 20 years in prison for drug distribution conspiracy. Espinal-Rapalo and Ramos Romero each also face a maximum of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to use and carry a firearm during a crime of violence. Henriquez-Chavez also faces a sentence of 20 years in prison for witness tampering.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the HSI Baltimore, Prince George’s County Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office, and Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein 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. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Ray D. McKenzie, William D. Moomau and Lindsay Eyler Kaplan, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.