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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Louisiana

Thursday, January 25, 2018

MS-13 Gang Member Sentenced to Federal Prison

Acting United States Attorney Corey R. Amundson announced that, yesterday, United States District Court Judge Shelly D. Dick sentenced JUAN BLANCO, age 37, a member of the notorious MS-13 gang, to serve 21 months in federal prison following his conviction for illegal re-entry into the United States by a removed alien.


               In March of 2017, a federal grand jury sitting in the Middle District of Louisiana returned an indictment charging BLANCO with illegal re-entry into the United States.  BLANCO had been arrested by local law enforcement authorities and was in custody, charged with using a machete to commit an assault in Baton Rouge.  BLANCO was eventually convicted of aggravated assault and other offenses in state court and, in August of 2017, he pled guilty to the pending federal indictment.  BLANCO admitted during yesterday’s sentencing hearing that he is a member of MS-13, a violent gang active in Central America and the United States.  BLANCO’s criminal history dates back to 2002 and includes multiple convictions for robbery, assault, battery, and resisting an officer.  BLANCO previously was deported from the United States to his home country of El Salvador in 2008. 


               Acting U.S. Attorney Amundson stated, “Immigration-related crimes involving those affiliated with gangs are a priority for this office, and for good reason:  BLANCO illegally re-entered the United States after being deported, and once here, he continued committing violent crimes in our community.  I appreciate the work of ICE-Enforcement and Removal Operations in identifying BLANCO and bringing him to our attention, so that we could use the resources and criminal statutes available to us to assist in keeping BLANCO off of our streets for as long as possible.” 


“This case is a great example of how ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations is working to keep criminal illegal aliens out of our communities,” said Acting New Orleans Field Office Director Scott L. Sutterfield. “ERO will continue focusing our resources on ensuring violent threats to our citizens receive the justice they deserve.”


This matter was handled by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Enforcement and Removal Operations, and the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan Rezaei and Kevin Sanchez.

Updated January 25, 2018