Defendant Pleads Guilty in MS-13 Racketeering Case, Accepts Responsibility for Murder
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jorge A. Landaverde, 35, of Columbus, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to murder in aid of racketeering.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Todd A. Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, Rebecca Adducci, Detroit Field Office Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations, Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin and Interim Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan announced the plea entered into today before Chief U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.
Landaverde is one of 23 individuals charged in a second superseding indictment in February 2018 who are alleged to be members and associates of MS-13 in Columbus.
The defendants are charged in a racketeering conspiracy, which includes five murders as well as attempted murder, extortion, money laundering, drug trafficking, assault, obstruction of justice, witness intimidation, weapons offenses and immigration-related violations.
The second superseding indictment alleges that the defendants committed a host of overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy, including: 1) the December 2006 murder of Jose Mendez, a suspected confidential informant, in Perry County; 2) the November 2008 murder of Ramon Ramos on Lockbourne Road in Columbus; 3) the mid-2015 murder of Carlos Serrano-Ramos, a suspected rival gang member, near Innis Road in Columbus; 4) the November 2015 murder of Wilson Villeda near Innis Road in Columbus; and 5) the December 2016 murder of Salvador Martinez-Diaz, a suspected rival gang member, on Melroy Avenue in Columbus.
As part of his plea, Landaverde accepted responsibility for his role in the murder of Martinez-Diaz. Landaverde faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Also in federal court in Columbus today, an associate of the MS-13 enterprise was sentenced. Carolina Garcia-Miranda, 31, of Columbus, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for racketeering conspiracy. She will receive credit for time served. She admitted to wiring money gained through illegal activity from the United States to El Salvador, Honduras, and elsewhere at the direction of MS-13 members. These transactions helped conceal the nature and source of the funds and assisted in promoting MS-13’s activities and operations.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI, ICE, Columbus Division of Police and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, and the assistance of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), as well as Assistant United States Attorneys Brian J. Martinez and Jessica H. Kim, who are prosecuting the case.
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