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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 25, 2022

Ten MS-13 gang members indicted on murder and racketeering charges

GALVESTON, Texas – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging 10 alleged MS-13 gang members with crimes including racketeering conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to murder in aid of racketeering (VICAR), related firearms charges and obstruction of justice.

“The charges in this case reflect the Justice Department’s commitment to dismantling and disrupting MS-13, a criminal organization that sows violence, terror and fear in communities across the country,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “We will continue to work closely alongside our law enforcement partners to root out criminal organizations wherever they exist and break the cycles of violence that they perpetuate.”

According to allegations in the indictment, the defendants were leaders and members of La Mara Salvatrucha, more commonly known as MS-13. In total, the indictment includes criminal charges related to seven murders, one attempted murder and one murder conspiracy.

“Protecting the safety of our communities is fundamental to what we do at the FBI,” said Director Christopher Wray of the FBI. “This indictment is one example of the persistent work being done by the FBI and our partners to combat violent gangs like MS-13 that inundate communities with violence. The FBI is committed to reducing violent crime and combating the threat criminal enterprises pose. We are proud to work alongside our local, state, tribal and federal enforcement partners in bringing violent members of criminal organizations like MS-13 to justice.”

The indictment alleges that beginning prior to at least in or around 2015, and continuing through today, the defendants engaged in a racketeering conspiracy involving murder, extortion, drug trafficking, robbery and obstruction of justice.

“This case is an important step in curbing crime in Texas and a message to criminal organizations that federal authorities are working with local law enforcement to stop the violence,” said U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery for the Southern District of Texas. “The charges in this case are extensive and violent. We will continue the fight and will stop at nothing to bring those who we believe are putting our communities at risk to justice.”

The murders and other crimes charged in the indictment were allegedly committed in the Southern District of Texas and the District of Maryland. Defendants Franklin Trejo-Chavarria aka Impulsivo and Julio Vigil-Lopez aka Hades reside in El Salvador. All other defendants are in law enforcement custody in the United States.

“As demonstrated by the allegations in the indictment, transnational criminal street gangs like MS-13 are a plague upon society that must be rooted out in the interest of public safety and national security,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston. “HSI Houston is committed to continue to work alongside our law enforcement partners to bring an end to the relentless terror and violence that they reign on the innocent and law-abiding members of our communities.”

Under the authority of MS-13 leadership in El Salvador and elsewhere, members engaged in a variety of violent crimes throughout the Southern District of Texas and District of Maryland, according to the charges. Over the past several years, law enforcement has allegedly uncovered several homicides and attempted murders related to these cliques and their associates. The investigation has revealed that these criminal acts were committed to maintain the gang’s control, to retaliate against rival gangs and to seek retribution against those who were believed to have cooperated with law enforcement against the gang, according to the indictment.

Leaders in El Salvador and elsewhere allegedly authorized the acts to ensure individual members and cliques followed the customs, rules, and protocols of the larger MS-13 enterprise.

The seven murders alleged in the indictment span from 2015 through 2018 and include a range of victims. These murders were allegedly brutal in nature and include the killing of a juvenile female and a police informant. The murders also included multiple acts of mutilation and dismemberment with machetes, according to the charges.

“This indictment is a testament to the strong partnerships we have with our federal and local agencies to help bring violent gang offenders to justice,” said Houston Police Chief Troy Finner. “We thank our partners and look forward to working together to help keep our communities safe.”

The FBI; Homeland Security Investigations; police departments in Houston, Galveston and Prince George’s County, Maryland; and Texas Department of Public Safety conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Marshals Service.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Britini Cooper and John M. Lewis are prosecuting the case along with Trial Attorneys Julie A. Finocchiaro, Matthew K. Hoff and Gerald A. Collins from the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

 

Name

Age

Located In

Charges

Franklin Trejo-Chavarria, aka Impulsivo

25

El Salvador

Count 1: RICO Conspiracy;

Counts 2 and 3: VICAR Attempted Murder and Conspiracy to Murder;

Counts 7 and 8:  VICAR Attempted Murder and Conspiracy to Murder;

Count 9: Obstruction of Justice

Counts 13 and 14: VICAR Murder and Conspiracy to Murder

Julio Vigil-Lopez, aka Hades

25

El Salvador

Count 1: RICO Conspiracy;

Counts 15 and 16: VICAR Murder and Conspiracy to Murder

Counts 17 and 18: Using a firearm to cause death

Walter Antonio Chicas-Arcia, aka Walter, aka Mejia

25

Houston, TX

Count 1: RICO Conspiracy;

Counts 7 and 8:  VICAR Attempted Murder and Conspiracy to Murder;

Count 9: Obstruction of Justice;

Counts 13 and 14: VICAR Murder and Conspiracy to Murder

Luis Ernesto Carbajal-Peraza, aka Destino, aka Chele

30

Houston, TX

Count 1: RICO Conspiracy

Counts 4 and 5: VICAR Murder and Conspiracy to Murder; 

Count 6: Obstruction of Justice;

Counts 7 and 8:  VICAR Attempted Murder and Conspiracy to Murder;

Count 9: Obstruction of Justice;

Counts 10 and 11: VICAR Attempted Murder and Conspiracy to Murder;

Count 12: Obstruction of Justice

Carlos Alexi Garcia-Gongora, aka Garcia, aka Lil Maligno

24

Houston, TX

Count 1: RICO Conspiracy

Counts 4 and 5: VICAR Murder and Conspiracy to Murder;

Count 6: Obstruction of Justice; Counts 10 and 11: VICAR Attempted Murder and Conspiracy to Murder

Count 12: Obstruction of Justice

 

Wilson Jose Ventura-Mejia, aka Discreto, aka Disco

26

Houston, TX

Count 1: RICO Conspiracy;

Count 6: Obstruction of Justice

Wilman Rivas-Guido, aka Inquieto

26

Houston, TX

Count 1: RICO Conspiracy;

Count 6: Obstruction of Justice;

Counts 7 and 8:  VICAR Attempted Murder and Conspiracy to Murder;

Count 9: Obstruction of Justice;

Counts 15 and 16: VICAR Murder and Conspiracy to Murder;

Counts 17 and 18: Using a firearm to cause death

Carlos Elias Henriquez-Torres, aka Kalin

22

Houston, TX

Count 1: RICO Conspiracy;

Count 6: Obstruction of Justice;

Counts 7 and 8:  VICAR Attempted Murder and Conspiracy to Murder;

Count 9: Obstruction of Justice

Angel Miguel Aguilar-Ochoa, aka Darki

37

Houston, TX

Counts 7 and 8:  VICAR Attempted Murder and Conspiracy to Murder;

Count 9: Obstruction of Justice

Marlon Miranda-Moran, aka Chinki

23

Houston, TX

Counts 7 and 8:  VICAR Attempted Murder and Conspiracy to Murder;

Count 9: Obstruction of Justice

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated August 25, 2022