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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 13, 2020

Two MS-13 Members Each Sentenced to 27 Years in Federal Prison for Participating in a Violent Racketeering Conspiracy, Including Murders

Participated in Murders, Attempted Murder, and Assaults in Montgomery and Frederick Counties

Baltimore, Maryland – Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced two MS-13 gang members, Jose Alberto Sibrian Garcia, a/k/a Chango, age 28, and Carlos Hernandez Diaz, a/k/a Positivo, age 29, both of Silver Spring, Maryland, to 27 years each in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, on a federal racketeering charge related to their participation in a violent racketeering conspiracy, specifically MS-13, including murders.  Hernandez Diaz was sentenced today and Sibrian Garcia was sentenced yesterday.

The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge John Eisert of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore Office; Chief Edward G. Hargis of the Frederick Police Department; Frederick County State’s Attorney J. Charles Smith, III; Chief Timothy J. Altomare of the Anne Arundel County Police Department; Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess; Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy; Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.

“MS-13 members are committing horrifying acts of violence in Maryland.  We must not allow these criminals to ravage our communities, spreading fear in their wake,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur.  “Federal, state, and local law enforcement will use all the tools at our disposal to arrest and prosecute gang members who prey on our neighbors.  We will not rest until we dismantle this organization to make Maryland safer.”

“Today’s sentence takes out a small part of the plague that has spread throughout our communities. And while it means these defendants will be off the streets for decades, our work is not done,” said Jennifer Boone, Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore Field Office of the FBI. “Together, working with our civic and community partners, the law enforcement community will be relentless in our pursuit of these gang members until our streets are safe from the scourge of MS-13.”

“MS-13 perpetuates senseless violence in our communities,” said HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge John Eisert. “Through coordination with our local and federal partners, domestically and abroad, we will continue in our mission to disable and dismantle MS-13.”

MS-13 is a national and international gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador and other Central American countries.  Branches or “cliques” of MS-13, one of the largest street gangs in the United States, operate throughout Frederick County, Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County, Maryland.  From 2016 and 2017, respectively, Sibrian Garcia and Hernandez Diaz were members and associates of the Fulton Locotes Salvatrucha clique of MS-13.

At all times of this conspiracy, members of MS-13 were expected to protect the name, reputation, and status of the gang from rival gang members and other persons.  To protect the gang and to enhance its reputation, MS-13 members were expected to use any means necessary to force respect from those who showed disrespect, including acts of intimidation and violence.  MS-13 had mottos consistent with its rules, beliefs, expectations and reputation including “mata, viola, controla,” which translates as, “kill, rape, control,” and “ver, oir y callar,” which means, “see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing.”

MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence both to maintain membership and discipline within the gang, as well as against rival gang members.  Participation in criminal activity by a member, particularly in violent acts directed at rival gangs or as directed by gang leadership, increase the respect accorded to that member, resulting in that member maintaining or increasing his position in the gang, and opens the door to a promotion to a leadership position.  One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, often referred to as “chavalas,” whenever possible. 

According to their plea agreements, Sibrian Garcia and Hernandez Diaz conspired with other MS-13 members and associates to engage in racketeering activity including murders, conspiracies to commit murder, attempted murders, extortion, robbery, and drug trafficking, in order to further the interests of the gang.

Attempted Murder in Wheaton Specifically, in July 2016, another MS-13 gang member identified Victim 9 as a suspected rival gang member and directed Sibrian Garcia and other MS-13 members to arrange to lure Victim 9 to a secluded area in Wheaton Park in order to murder him, however, Victim 9 refused to go to the secluded area.  After that, another MS-13 member found Victim 9 on the street and shot him.  Victim 9 survived.

Murder in Wheaton Sibrian Garcia also admitted that in March 2017, he and other MS-13 gang members brought Victim 13 from Annapolis to Wheaton Regional Park in Wheaton, Maryland, where other MS-13 gang members had dug a grave and gathered weapons.  When Victim 13 arrived, Sibrian Garcia and other MS-13 gang members attacked him with a machete and knives, killing him.  Victim 13’s body was then dismembered and buried in the grave.  In September 2017, investigators recovered Victim 13’s body from the grave in Wheaton.  As detailed in the plea agreement, the medical examiner found that the cause of death was homicide.  The body had suffered numerous blunt and sharp force traumas, the victim’s head had been severed, and his heart had been removed.        

Murder in Frederick As detailed in Hernandez Diaz’s plea agreement, in April 2017, MS-13 gang members found Victim 14 in Silver Spring, Maryland, and called Hernandez Diaz and others to confirm that Victim 14 was a rival gang member.  After receiving confirmation that Victim 14 was a rival gang member, they arranged with other gang members to identify a place in Frederick, Maryland where the victim could be killed and contacted other gang members to arrange to transport Victim 14 to Frederick.  Victim 14 was transported by MS-13 members to Frederick City Watershed off Gambrill Park Road in Frederick, where they had dug a grave and gathered weapons.  When Victim 14 arrived, some gang members hit him with a tree branch and then Hernandez Diaz and other gang members attacked him with a machete and knives until he was dead.  Victim 14’s body was then dismembered and buried in the grave.  Victim 14’s remains were found in June 2017. 

Assaults in Wheaton According to his plea agreement, on June 14, 2017, Sibrian Garcia and other MS-13 gang members were at Wheaton Regional Park in Wheaton, Maryland when they saw Victim 15 and Victim 16, who they suspected were rival gang members.  Sibrian Garcia and other gang members found Victims 15 and 16 in a bathroom and forced them out at knife-point.  Sibrian Garcia and the other gang members hit Victims 15 and 16 with branches, fists, and feet and talked about killing them with the knife.  When bystanders approached, Sibrian Garcia and the other gang members ran away.  The victims’ cell phones were stolen.  Both victims were transported to the hospital for their injuries.

The defendants admitted that the murders, attempted murder and assault of these victims was intended to maintain and increase the status of MS-13 and allow members to maintain or increase their status within the gang.

Drug Distribution Finally, as stated in their plea agreements, members of the Fulton clique, including Sibrian Garcia and Hernandez Diaz, also conspired to distribute marijuana.  As a part of that conspiracy, gang members would obtain bulk quantities of marijuana and then break it up for distribution.  At least a portion of the proceeds from the drug sales would go to the gang to further its objectives.  It was reasonably foreseeable to Sibrian Garcia and Hernandez Diaz that the conspiracy would distribute at least five kilograms of marijuana.

A total of 29 defendants have been charged in this case with participating in a racketeering conspiracy and/or other crimes related to their association with MS-13, including 18 defendants charged in the fifth superseding indictment filed on October 21, 2019.  A total of 13 defendants have pleaded guilty to crimes related to their participation in MS-13 gang activities.

Anyone with information about MS-13 is encouraged to provide their tips to law enforcement.  The FBI and Homeland Security Investigations both have nationwide tiplines that you can call to report what you know.  You can reach the FBI at 1-866-STP-MS13 (1-866-787-6713), or you can call HSI at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. 

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI; HSI; the Frederick Police Department; the Anne Arundel, Montgomery, and Prince George’s County Police Departments; and the Anne Arundel, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George’s County State’s Attorneys for their work in the investigation, and recognized the Baltimore County Police Department for its assistance.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth S. Clark, Catherine K. Dick, and Matthew DellaBetta, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated February 13, 2020