An illegal immigrant and a foreign national, both ranking members of the MS-13 gang, were sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of murder and other organized crime charges in North Carolina.
Illegal immigrant from Honduras, 22-year-old Miguel Zelaya, was convicted and sentenced for the murder of Jose Orlando Ibarra, conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity (RICO), as well as murder in aid of racketeering and the illegal carrying of a firearm, according to the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
Guatemalan national Luis Ordonez-Vega, 37, was also convicted and sentenced for RICO conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, the illegal carrying of a firearm and for the murder of Noel Navarro Hernandez, the DOJ said in a news release.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesman Brian Cox told Breitbart Texas that Zelaya and Vega were gang-leaders within MS-13, citing that their convictions were key to destabilizing the criminal network locally.
Zelaya, is a member of the “Coronados Little Cycos Salvatrucha” clique. In December 2013, Zelaya reportedly shot and killed Ibarra, an associate of a rival gang called “The Latin Kings.”
Zelaya admitted to law enforcement that he shot Ibarra because he owed him money for a gun and because Ibarra and his brother, a Latin King member, had been looking for one of Zelaya’s “homies” with a shotgun, court documents provided by the DOJ noted.
Court documents also revealed that Vega, a self-proclaimed member of MS-13 from Nassau County, New York, and a member of the “Brentwood Locos Salvatrucha” clique, shot and killed Hernandez in June 2013 in a strip mall parking lot in Charlotte.
Navarro was targeted by Vega and other MS-13 members, court documents revealed, because he was believed to have been from a rival gang based on his appearance.
Another MS-13 member, 27-year-old Jorge Garcia was sentenced to 70 months in prison and two years of supervised release, according to the statement.
Cox said the convictions and sentencing of the foreign national MS-13 members is part of a major effort to dismantle the international crime organization, which has over 6,000 members in the United States and 30,000 members internationally.
From at least 2009 to about May 2015, the three men along with 34 other co-defendants named in a federal indictment, were members of MS-13.
“MS-13 members adhere to a set of gang rules and pay dues which fund the gang’s criminal activities and support other gang members or their families in the U.S and abroad,” court records noted. “Gang members are also expected to protect the name, reputation and status of the gang and its members, and to punish through acts of violence and intimidation those who disrespect the gang.”
MS-13 members often times where blue, black and white colored clothes to show their affiliation with the crime organization, along with tattoos that read “Mara Salvatrucha” or “MS-13.”
“Members of MS-13 in Charlotte participated in multiple meetings at various times to discuss gang-related matters and to plan the commission of future crimes for the benefit of the gang,” the records continued. “They were also responsible for numerous criminal acts including murder and attempted murder.”
Cox told Breitbart Texas that if Zelaya and Vega are ever released from prison for any reason, they will be quickly deported out of the country.
John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.