Two Maryland MS-13 Members Convicted in Federal Racketeering Conspiracy Including Murder
Greenbelt, Maryland – A federal jury today convicted Eric Antonio Mejia-Ramos, aka “Flaco,” age 22, and Miguel Angel Manjivar, aka “Masflow or “Garra,” age 25, both of Hyattsville, of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise in connection with their gang activities as members of La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. Manjivar was also found guilty of murder in aid of racketeering.
The convictions were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Chief Hank Stawinski 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.
MS-13 is a national and transnational 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 members are required to commit acts of violence to maintain membership and discipline within the gang. One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, known as “chavalas,” whenever possible.
According to evidence presented at the three-week trial, from at least 2009 through October 2014, MS-13 members planned and committed numerous crimes, including murders, attempted murders, kidnappings, assaults, robberies, and witness tampering and retaliation in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. Gang members also extorted brothel operators and owners of other illegal businesses and tampered with and retaliated against witnesses, among other crimes. Mejia-Ramos was a member of the MS-13 Parkview Locotes Salvatrucha clique and Manjivar was a member of the MS-13 Peajes Locotes Salvatrucha clique.
Trial evidence showed that on September 16, 2010, Manjivar shot and killed an individual he believed to be a rival gang member on the footbridge of a park in Hyattsville. On January 10, 2011, Manjivar and other MS-13 members murdered a person they believed was a rival gang member, and attempted to murder another purported rival gang member, in the parking lot of the former Shoppers Food Warehouse on University Boulevard in Hyattsville. Manjivar and others repeatedly punched, kicked, and stabbed the victims, one of whom survived the attack.
In addition, trial evidence demonstrated that on January 13, 2011, after attending a Peajes clique meeting at which he criticized other MS-13 members for not committing enough violent crimes, Manjivar and other MS-13 Peajes members got into a mini-van driven by a co-defendant. Near the Fort Totten Metro Station, they saw a person they believed was an associate of a rival gang. Manjivar and other MS-13 members attacked the victim and dragged him back into the mini-van. Manjivar and others continued to assault him, at times attempting to use a seat belt to strangle the victim. They eventually parked near a dead end in the vicinity of Chillum Manor Road. Manjivar and others kicked, stabbed and choked the victim. They forcefully stripped the victim of all of his heavy winter clothing in order to stab him. After assaulting the victim near the mini-van, they dragged the victim into the woods, where they left him for dead, and fled. The victim survived the attack.
According to evidence presented at trial, on the night of August 28, 2012, Mejia-Ramos lured a woman he believed to be a rival gang member to a park in Beltsville, telling her they were going to party. At the park, Mejia-Ramos shot the woman to death.
Both defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison for conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise. Manjivar faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison for murder in aid of racketeering. U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus has scheduled sentencing for Mejia-Ramon on January 5, 2017, and for Manjivar on January 23, 2017. Mejia-Ramos and Manjivar remain detained
In addition to these convictions, eight of the 13 defendants charged in this case have previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the racketeering conspiracy and two have been convicted after trial.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended HSI Baltimore, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County Police Departments, and Prince George’s and Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Offices for their work in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys William D. Moomau and Lindsay Eyler Kaplan, and Trial Attorney Catherine K. Dick with the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, who are prosecuting the case. Former OCGS Trial Attorney Kevin Rosenberg assisted in the prosecution of this case.