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Press Release

MS-13 Gang Member Sentenced to 20 Years in Machete Attack Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas

An MS-13 gang member was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for his role in a brutal machete attack at a park just outside Dallas, Texas, announced  U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski.

“We cannot allow machete-wielding gang members to menace our neighborhoods,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “The feds are determined to put anyone who commits violence in the name of this brutal transnational gang behind bars.”    

“Transnational MS-13 gang members brutally target rival gangs in the U.S. and use our cities as their own personal urban battlefield,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge of HSI Dallas.  “This gang member’s reign of terror in the U.S. is over while he spends the next 20 years in U.S. federal prison.”

Manuel Amaya-Alvarez, 22, pleaded guilty in May to four counts of violent crime in aid of racketeering (VICAR).  U.S. District Judge Jayne Boyle handed down Amaya-Alvarez’s sentence on Nov. 14.

According to court documents, Amaya-Alvarez – an El Salvadorian national in the United States illegally – admitted he belonged to MS-13, a notorious and violent transnational street gang.

In Sept. 25, 2017, he admitted he and fellow MS-13 gang members attempted to “take out,” or kill, four individuals at Running Bear Park in Irving, Texas.

That night, the gang lured an individual – a man they perceived to be a rival gang member – to the park under the guise that they wanted to buy his tattoo machine.  The man came with two other men and a female acquaintance.  When they arrived, gang members lured them to wooded area in the back of the park, where additional gang members – armed with a shotgun, machetes, and clubs – lay in wait. 

After Amaya-Alvarez and another gang member, both seated on a park bench, greeted the victims, the other gang members appeared and surrounded the victims, forcing them to kneel on the ground before robbing them and attacking them with machetes and clubs, according to court documents.  The three men fled, but the female could not escape and was savagely maimed and left for dead.

Two of the men also suffered serious physical injuries, including blunt trauma from blows and severe cuts from a machete.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Irving Police Department conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gary Tromblay and Sid Moody and Trial Attorney Julie Finocchiaro with the Department of Justice's Organized Crime and Gang Section are prosecuting the case.


Erin Dooley, Public Affairs Officer

Updated November 21, 2019

Violent Crime