The crackdown on the Violent MS-13 Gang continues with the arrest of three more fugitives in two different states. The violent gang members are all wanted for a series of aggravated charges including kidnapping, murder, and others.
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Jose Manuel Romero-Parada and Willians Ernesto Lovos-Ayala, two members of the ruthless Central American gang in Galloway Township, New Jersey. Known as the MS-13, the gang is made up primarily of immigrants or descendants from Central America.
Romero-Parada, formerly of Indianapolis, was one of 15 recently indicted in Ohio for allegedly conspiring to extort and launder money for the gang, according to an FBI release. He is also wanted in his home country of El Salvador on kidnapping charges. He remains at a federal detention center in Philadelphia, awaiting extradition to Ohio so he can stand trial on the pending charges. Lovos-Ayala is wanted for first-degree murder for a 2015 Virginia slaying in Prince William County. He’s being held in the Atlantic City jail pending extradition to Virginia.
In a separate operation in Memphis, Tennessee, Deputy U.S. Marshals arrested another MS-13 gang member wanted on murder and robbery charges, according to a news release. Authorities were searching for Chris Diaz in connection with a series of warrants charging him with three counts of attempted second-degree murder; four counts of aggravated robbery; three counts of attempted aggravated robbery; three counts of employing a firearm to commit a felony; threat to do bodily harm; and carjacking. Diaz was also wanted on drug charges in Florida. Officials believe the crimes were all gang-related. Marshals were able to track Diaz to an apartment where he was found hiding in a closet.
Operations targeting dangerous fugitives come on the heels of the recent arrest of Walter Yovany Gomez, an MS-13 gang member and FBI’s “10 Most Wanted” fugitive who was captured in Woodbridge, Virginia, according to information released by the FBI. Authorities described Gomez as an illegal alien from Honduras, accused of murdering another MS-13 member found with his throat cut and stabbed 17 times in the back in a New Jersey apartment in 2011. The victim was suspected of socializing with a rival gang and was allegedly ordered killed by MS-13 leaders.
Law enforcement officials nationwide are focusing on a roundup of MS-13 members, many of whom are illegal aliens with violent criminal records. In October 2012, the U.S. Department of Treasury labeled the group a “transnational criminal organization,” the first such designation for a street gang. During a 10-year period between 2005 and 2014, officials arrested 4,000 members of MS-13–92 percent were in the United States illegally, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.
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.)