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Indictment charges 24 alleged MS-13 members with violent racketeering, murder and money laundering conspiracies

BALTIMORE — An indictment charging two dozen alleged members and associates of the gang MS-13 was unsealed Sunday, according to a release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

A federal grand jury returned the indictment on June 26.

“MS-13 is one of the most violent an ruthless gangs on the streets today,” said Robert K. Hur, United States Attorney for the District of Maryland. “Working with our state and local partners, and using the tools of our Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, we are determined to dismantle this organization to make our communities in Maryland safer.”

The six-count indictment alleges that from 2015 and continuing through 2017, MS-13 members and associates engaged in racketeering activity that included murders, conspiracies to commit murder, attempted murders, extortion, robbery, kidnapping, drug trafficking, and money laundering, the release states.

Specifically, the indictment alleges that the defendants murdered five individuals in Frederick, Anne Arundel, and Montgomery Counties, dismembering three of the victims. The defendants are also accused of conspiring to murder eight individuals, maiming and assaulting one of the individuals with a machete, shooting one individual in the head, and kidnapping and threatening another individual with a firearm to extract payment for extortion, according to the release.

“MS-13 is ravaging communities throughout the United States with brutal violence, recruiting children to their murderous ranks, destroying families, and leaving behind countless victims,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “This indictment — which charges two dozen alleged MS-13 members with senseless acts of violence — is the latest example of the Department of Justice’s unwavering commitment to combating violent gangs that prey on communities, whether in Maryland or elsewhere in our country.”

Twenty-one of the 24 defendants are charged with conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise. They include:

  • Jorge Raul Guerra Castillo, a/k/a “Pelon,” age 36;
  • Carlos Hernandez Diaz, a/k/a “Positivo,” age 25;
  • Milton Portillo Rodriguez, a/k/a “Little Gangster,” and “Seco,” age 23;
  • Juan Carlos Sandoval Rodriguez, a/k/a “Picaro,” age 19;
  • Francisco Ramirez Pena, a/k/a “Tepo,” and “Advertencia,” age 24;
  • Jose Alberto Sibrian Garcia, a/k/a “Chango,” age 26;
  • Darwin Arias Mejia, a/k/a “City,” and “City Boy,” age 25;
  • Miguel Lopez Abrego, a/k/a “Timido,” age 30;
  • Albaro Rosa Moreno, a/k/a “Slow,” age 23;
  • Ervin Arrue Figureoa, a/k/a “Tricky,” age 19;
  • Ronald Mendez Sosa, age 20;
  • Edwin Ruiz Urrutia, a/k/a “Sylvestre,” age 19;
  • Brenda Argueta Argueta, a/k/a “Prima,” age 19;
  • Carlos Ventura Morales, a/k/a “Pantaya,” age 30; and
  • Danny Hernandez Solorzano, a/k/a “Titre,” age 20.

The names of six other defendants charged in the racketeering conspiracy remain sealed, the release says.

In addition, Darvin Guerra Zacarias, a/k/a “Chapin,” age 26, and Luis Fernando Cruz Rodriguez, a/k/a “Catra,” age 21, are charged with conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, along with Guerra Castillo, Hernandez Diaz, Portillo Rodriguez, Sandoval Rodriguez, Ramirez Pena, Arias Mejia, Rosa Moreno, Arrue Figueroa, Mendez Sosa, Ruiz Urrutia, and Argueta Argueta.

Samuel Diaz-Ramos, a/k/a “Pequeno,” age 32, is charged with money laundering conspiracy.

“This indictment is a direct result of the hard work and dedication shared by state, local and federal authorities in their efforts to combat violent gangs in our Maryland communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson, of the FBI’s Baltimore Division. “We are committed to combating this epidemic of violence that often takes young lives and creates fear in our communities.  The FBI and our partners will aggressively pursue gangs wherever they surface and are steadfast to making Maryland a safe place for our citizens.”

Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement