Four alleged members of the Mexican MS-13 street gang have been arrested and charged with murder in Gaithersburg, Maryland, authorities report. It was the second charge for murder leveled at the teenaged crew.
Police in Montgomery County, Maryland, charged the four suspects for the homicide of Marvin Misael Vargas-Osorio, 34, who was found in a shallow grave in the Great Seneca Stream Valley Park on August 29.
Officials charged Luis F. Avelar Morales, 18, Daniel Adonai Ramos, 19, Edwin E. Reyes-Martinez, 18, and Juan Espinal Rapalo, 18, with first-degree murder. All have been charged as adults in the case, even though two were only 17 at the time of the murder.
Police say that the victim, Vargas-Osorio, was led to the remote area where the shallow grave was already dug. There he was attacked by up to five assailants wielding knives. His body was then kicked into the waiting grave.
According to police, a hunter came across the body on August 29. It was thought to have been in the grave for nearly six months before its discovery. The body had no identification on it.
Police released images of the clothing and belongings found on the body and were soon informed of the identity of the victim. Medical records were then used to make the confirmation.
For three of the suspects, this is their second charge for a gangland murder. Avelar Morales, Ramos, and Rapalo were already being held for the murder of Roberto Gutierrez Cruz, killed on November 1.
Reyes-Martinez was also charged as an accessory after the fact to the Cruz murder.
Montgomery County officials have noted that the MS-13 gang was still a growing problem in the region.
“MS-13 has never gone away. But we haven’t seen this level of violence in several years,” Capt. Darren Francke, commander of the Montgomery Police Department’s major crimes division, said to the media on Wednesday. “We are focused on bringing every involved member to justice.”
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