Maryland police officers arrested two teenage MS-13 gang members for allegedly murdering a local man.
Montgomery County Police Department detectives arrested Jesus Antonio Ponce Flores, age 18, of Takoma Park, Maryland, and David Lagunes-Bolanos, age 17, of Silver Spring, Maryland for their roles in an alleged MS-13 gang-related homicide.
A hiker in Silver Spring, Maryland, discovered the body of Cristopher Alfredo Funes Guerra, 20, on September 6 lying near a creek in Long Branch Stream Valley Park. An autopsy by the medical examiner revealed the victim died of multiple stab wounds, according to a statement from the Montgomery County Police Department obtained by Breitbart Texas.
During the investigation, detectives learned the victim left his home for the last time on September 2 at about 8:00 p.m. He told his mother he was going to meet some friends. When the young man did not return home, his mother unsuccessfully attempted to call him on his cell phone. The phone had been turned off, detectives stated.
Investigators later learned the “friend” he was going to meet was Lagunes-Bolanos. The detectives also learned that MS-13 gang members carried out the crime. They later identified two of the MS-13 gang members as suspects. Police arrested Flores and Lagunes-Bolanos on October 16. They are charged with first-degree murder, officials stated. They are being held in a Montgomery County jail without bond while they await trial.
Breitbart Texas reached out to officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to learn if either of the men are illegal aliens and if they have immigration detainers in place. A response was not immediately available.
Montgomery County jail officials responded to a phone inquiry by Breitbart Texas about Ponce Flores and indicated an immigration detainer has been issued by ICE officials. They could not disclose the nationality of the suspect. Records of the juvenile, Lagunes-Bolanos, could not be released.
MS-13 gang violence has become a major problem for Montgomery County police in recent years.
“It doesn’t take a whole lot to figure out that something has terribly changed when you have 20 homicides in two years when you had less than one homicide a year,” Maryland State’s Attorney JohnMcCarthy told Montgomery County Media. During a 15 year period ending in 2015, Montgomery County averaged one homicide per year.
The county police department is receiving more than $800,000 in new federal anti-gang funding. Some of that money will be used to gather gang-related intelligence by monitoring prison phone calls, searching social media posts and increased electronic surveillance to attempt to curb the increasing trend of gang violence, the local news outlet reported.
Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger said, ““Look at what’s going on in this region. We’re not alone in seeing an uptick in gang violence. It’s happening all around the Beltway. Even in jurisdictions outside the Beltway, like Prince William County and Anne Arundel County. They’re seeing an uptick in gang violence as well.”
Both officials stated that federal officials cannot help with the juvenile involvement in the gangs. McCarthy said the federal authorities do not have juvenile detention facilities or programs.