A federal grand jury in Maryland has indicted three men alleged to be members of the La Mara Salvatrucha gang, also known as MS-13, for their role in two murders, three attempted murders, extortion, and racketeering.
The details of the indictment show how widespread the sphere of MS-13’s influence is, with one murder victim allegedly fleeing a kill order in El Salvador, only to be tracked down and executed in Maryland.
MS-13 is an international criminal gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador, and is active in multiple areas throughout the United States, Mexico, Central America, and Canada. Known MS-13 branches, or “cliques,” in the U.S. include Los Angeles and San Francisco in California; the Washington, D.C. metro area, including Fairfax County in Virginia, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County in Maryland; Long Island, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Houston, Texas.
In addition to smuggling drugs and weapons, MS-13 has also long been involved in human smuggling. A Washington Times article from some ten years ago reported how the gang had established a major smuggling center in Matamoros, Mexico, just south of Brownsville, Texas. This is the same area that has been torn apart by violence between warring drug cartels, as Breitbart Texas has covered in the ongoing Cartel Chronicles series, and MS-13 has allied with the Sinaloa Cartel against Los Zetas.
According to a press release by the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for Maryland, the following defendants were charged by the grand jury on Monday:
- Aldair Garcia-Miranda, a/k/a “Callado” and “Poseido,” age 21, of Wheaton,
- Selvin Raymundo Salazar, a/k/a “Little” and “Inquieto,” age 23, of Wheaton, and
- Raul Ernesto Landaverde-Giron, a/k/a “Decente” and “Humilde,” age 25, of Silver Spring.
All three men are alleged to have been members of the “Normandie Clique” of MS-13, with Garcia-Miranda and Salazar alleged to have served as leaders of the group for Prince George’s County and Montgomery County, dating back to at least late 2013 or early 2014.
The indictment includes specific allegations of the following crimes:
- February 28, 2013: Salazar and other MS-13 members allegedly shot and killed an individual believed to be a member of a rival gang;
- November 30, 2013: MS-13 members including Garcia-Miranda and Landaverde-Giron tracked down a man who had fled El Salvador when MS-13 ordered him to be killed. According to a report by WFMD 930 FM, the victim was Merlin Edjardo Garcia, 23. The MS-13 members allegedly spotted him in Frederick, Maryland and lured him to a wooded area, where they shot and stabbed him, killing him.
- July 30, 2014: Garcia-Miranda, Salazar and other MS-13 members allegedly traveled to Hyattsville, Maryland with guns, intending to locate and shoot suspected rival gang members and associates who were believed to have stolen property from a MS-13 member. Two of the three victims were wounded but all survived.
Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. Attorney for Maryland, told WFMD that they had had “a number of significant MS-13 prosecutions” in that area of Maryland. Rosenstein noted the violent characteristics of this gang, and that many of the MS-13 members in the U.S. were here illegally.
“The [MS-13] gang members originate from El Salvador,” said Rosenstein. “Some of the most significant members of the gang, leaders of the organization, some of the most violent members, are El Salvadoran immigrants, often illegal immigrants in the United States. They congregate in areas where there’s already a population of law abiding immigrants. They take advantage of that.”
Breitbart News contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office to inquire about the immigration status of the defendants but had not received a response at the time of publication.
The three defendants are in custody and are facing stiff prison sentences. Each of the men could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison just for the charges related to conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise. Additionally, Garcia-Miranda and Salazar each face additional maximum sentences of ten years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering and ten years for attempted murder in aid of racketeering; a mandatory minimum of ten years in prison consecutive to any other sentence; and a maximum sentence of life in prison for using a gun to conspire to commit murder in aid of racketeering and attempted murder in aid of racketeering.
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