US Convicts MS-13 Members of Drug Trafficking, Racketeering

After a three-week-long trial, a federal jury found on Friday four Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang members guilty of drug distribution, racketeering, and two attempted murders, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Virginia’s Eastern District.

MS 13 TattooMS-13 is one of the largest and most violent street gangs in America. Founded in California in the 1980s, the gang, which is largely restricted to the El Salvadoran community, has spread internationally and garnered a reputation for cruelty. (Photo: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Wikimedia, License)MS-13 is one of the largest and most violent street gangs in America. Founded in California in the 1980s, the gang, which is largely restricted to the El Salvadoran community, has spread internationally and garnered a reputation for cruelty.

The four were associated with the Guanacos Lil Cycos (GLCS) clique within MS-13.

Roberto Cruz Moreno, 22, was involved in the sale of cocaine and an attempted murder in March 2019 of a victim identified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as E.P.A. The victim was shot and stabbed after apparently associating with a rival gang. Cruz Moreno faces a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Marvin Torres, 21, Jose Rosales Juarez, 27, and Kevin Perez Sandoval, 24, were involved in conspiracy to murder a person identified as N.M.S. The killing was approved by Andy Tovar, 32, considered one of the highest-ranking MS-13 members in the U.S. today.

Torres and Rosales Juarez each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while Perez Sandoval could be sentenced to life in prison.

Andy Tovar has earlier pleaded guilty and could also face life in prison.

Meanwhile in Honduras, National Police arrested one of five MS-13 leaders the U.S. identified  as the coordinators of extortion and violent crimes in the Washington metropolitan area, according to a recent press release.

Tokiro Ramirez Rodas, 41, also known as José Antonio Rodas Ramírez and Johnny Rodas Ramírez, is wanted by the U.S. for drug trafficking and money laundering, according to a tweet from the Honduran Judiciary.

Ramirez has two outstanding extraditable arrest warrants and Honduran authorities have confirmed his active involvement with MS-13 based on body tattoos tying him to the criminal group.