Greenbelt, Maryland – A federal grand jury indicted three defendants today in connection with a conspiracy to participate in murder in aid of a racketeering enterprise known as the La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13:
Jorge Enrique Moreno-Aguilar, aka “Flaco,” and “Castigato,”, age 20, of District Heights, Maryland,
Juan Alberto Ortiz-Orellana, aka “Chele” and “Furia,” age 25, of District Heights, Maryland, and
Melvin Marquez-Sanchez, aka “Demente,” age 20, formerly of New York.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Chief Mark A. Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
“Today’s indictment is a significant disruption to the illegal operations of MS-13 in Maryland,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge William Winter. “The members of MS-13 spread violence and fear wherever they exist and prey on innocent people, displaying a shocking disregard for human life. HSI will continue to aggressively work with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in the state of Maryland to target violent transnational gang members who threaten the safety of our communities.”
“Gang investigators from the Prince George’s County Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department, and the Homeland Security Investigations Gang Unit collaborated to develop the identification of these suspects, which led to their arrest and indictment,” stated Prince George’s County Police Chief Mark Magaw. “Today’s indictment is the result of the highly effective partnership that exists among the gang investigators who continue their relentless attack on gang activity in our region.”
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.
The four count indictment alleges that the defendants were members and associates of MS-13. Between January and March 2013 the defendants targeted an individual believed to be affiliated with the rival 18th Street gang. According to the indictment, the defendants obtained photos of the victim, and planned the murder of the victim. Moreno-Aguilar and Ortiz-Orellana possessed a gun to be used for the murder. On March 12, 2013, Moreno-Aguilar and Ortiz-Orellana went to Capital Heights, Maryland, found and shot the victim multiple times, killing him. They fled and disposed of the gun.
All three defendants face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for conspiring to commit murder in aid of racketeering. Moreno-Aguilar and Ortiz-Orellana also face a maximum sentence of life in prison for murder in aid of racketeering; murder resulting in the use of a gun; and using a firearm during a crime of violence.
Moreno-Aguilar and Ortiz-Orellana are currently in state custody on related state charges. Marquez-Sanchez is currently in custody of immigration authorities. The defendants are expected to have their initial appearances in federal court in Greenbelt on these federal charges within the next couple weeks.
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 and Montgomery County Police Departments and Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties State’s Attorney=s Offices for their work in the investigation and proceedings. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney William D. Moomau and Kevin Rosenberg, a Trial Attorney with the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force case.