An MS-13 member was murdered two days after being released from county jail despite a federal detainer against him, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Jose Herrera-Guzman, 18, was found dead outside a Silver Springs, Maryland, apartment complex with multiple gunshot wounds after police responded to a shots fired call. Herrera-Guzman, in the country illegally from his native Honduras, had been detained at Montgomery County Jail after being arrested in October for trespassing and fourth-degree burglary with three other suspected MS-13 members. They were found squatting in an abandoned house that was scheduled for demolition to make way for the expansion of a public transportation line.
According to detectives, two transit workers arrived at the abandoned house in October to conduct inventory and did not realize it was occupied by the MS-13 as a “destroyer” or hangout house. During inspection, the workers were confronted by two members–one wearing a black mask holding a small gun pointed toward the ground. The workers told the suspects they were on the job and the suspect put his gun away, according to officials. The two left and shortly after and called the police. The suspects fled the home.
According to court documents, police in Montgomery County found the home covered in graffiti. There were gang signs and terms including “Locos” (an MS-13 identifier), “CL” (which police believe to mean Centrales Locos), “504” (the area code for Honduras) and “Santa Mu3rt3” (Santa Muerte spelled with 3 for “e”) as reported by local media.
In a bedroom, investigators say they found a shrine to Santa Muerte (a figure often shown as a grim reaper-like skeleton) with lit candles and a skeleton idol hanging from a ceiling fan. There was also a Halloween mask with blood painted on it.
Police found and identified both original suspects with the help of the workers. The first was found by Takoma Park police after he led a foot chase through an apartment complex before being arrested.
There were also three other suspects arrested by police for trespassing and burglarizing the home.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that ICE officials are not permitted to screen foreign nationals booked into Montgomery County’s custody for removability due to the sanctuary policies in place. Jose Herrera-Guzman was released from custody on or about December 22 after posting a $100 bond.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.)