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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 21, 2014

Two Members Of MS-13 Sentenced To Prison

ATLANTA - Emmanual Hidalgo, and Edwin Menjivar, have been sentenced for their participation in violent crimes that they committed as members of the street gang known as Mara Salvatrucha 13, or MS-13.

“MS-13 preyed on innocent civilians and suspected rival gang members,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “They spread fear and terror through large swaths of Gwinnett and DeKalb counties. People who choose to join gangs and commit violent crimes will learn firsthand that they will be held accountable for their actions and will spend time in prison.”

“The defendants in this case indiscriminately brought murderous violence against rival gang members and innocent civilians alike,” said Brock D. Nicholson, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Atlanta. “HSI is proud to continue to partner with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to target violent transnational gang members who threaten the safety of our communities.”

J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “The sentencing of these violent MS-13 gang members to federal prison will have a meaningful and positive impact on public safety in those areas of metro Atlanta that this gang for so long called their home. This case truly represents the problem posed and what is required to address these transnational gangs that bring their level of organized crime from their countries into ours.  The FBI will continue to dedicated extensive investigative resources toward the combatting of these violent groups.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: MS-13 is an international gang whose members come primarily from Central American countries.  By 2005, MS-13 had established a presence in the Atlanta area, staking out Norcross and Chamblee as their strongholds.  Members of MS-13 violently attacked suspected rival gang members.  They also committed countless armed robberies of civilians as well as businesses.  The defendants were sentenced today for their participation in the following crimes:

  • Emmanual Hidalgo, also known as Scooby, along with other gang members, planned to rob a suspected drug dealer at a hotel in DeKalb County in April 2007.  When the suspected drug dealer turned out to have his own gun, Hidalgo and his fellow MS-13 members engaged in a shootout with him that spilled outside the hotel room.  Surveillance video showed one of the MS-13 members stopping to pick up the suspected drug dealer’s weapon, which he later showed off as a trophy.
  • Edwin Menjivar, also known as Vago and Chilly Willy, drove fellow gang member Ernesto Escobar in October 2007 on a mission to shoot suspected rival gang members.  They went to an apartment complex in Gwinnett County where many members of the gang SUR-13 lived.  As Menjivar drove, Escobar fired shots, hitting one man in the neck as he was standing outside his apartment patio.  The police later recovered the firearm that Escobar used underneath Menjivar’s bedroom mattress.  Ernesto Escobar was charged in the same indictment; was convicted after a jury trial; and is now serving a life sentence.

            The court sentenced the defendants as follows:

  • Emmanual Hidalgo, 25, of Chamblee, Ga., has been sentenced to 25 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.  Hidalgo was convicted on these charges on August 2, 2013, after he pleaded guilty RICO conspiracy and use of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.
  • Edwin Menjivar, 33, of Norcross, Ga., has been sentenced to eleven years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.  Menjivar was convicted on these charges on June 7, 2013, after he pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy and Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering.

These defendants will be deported upon completion of their prison sentences. There is no parole in the federal system.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Gwinnett County Police Department and DeKalb County Police Department.

Assistant United States Attorneys Paul R. Jones and Kim S. Dammers and Department of Justice Organized Crime and Gang Section Trial Attorney Joseph K. Wheatley prosecuted the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.

Updated April 8, 2015