Three MS-13 gangsters convicted of racketeering, murder, extortion, and drug charges after 3-week trial

By Gangsters Inc. Editors

A federal jury on Thursday found three members of MS-13 guilty of racketeering, murder, extortion, and drug charges after a 3-week trial. 41-year-old Luis Flores-Reyes, 40-year-old Jairo Jacome, and 27-year-old Brayan Contreras-Avalos face life in prison.

Jacome was the highest-ranking member of the local Langley Park Salvatrucha, or “LPS” clique. Flores-Reyes and Contreras-Avalos were leaders within the Sailors Clique, which held territory in Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Texas and El Salvador.

One of largest gangs in US

MS-13 is an international gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador and other central American countries. It is currently viewed as one of the largest street gangs operating in the United States, with branches or “cliques” that operate throughout Frederick County, Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County, Maryland.

At all times of this conspiracy, members of MS-13 were expected to protect the name, reputation, and status of the gang and to use any means necessary to force respect from those who showed disrespect, including acts of intimidation and violence.

“Kill, rape, control”

MS-13 had mottos consistent with its rules, beliefs, expectations and reputation including “mata, viola, controla,” which translates as, “kill, rape, control.” One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, often referred to as “chavalas,” whenever possible.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, the defendants ran an extortion scheme in and around Langley Park, extorting local businesses by charging them “rent” for the privilege of operating in MS-13 “territory.”

Flores-Reyes and Contreras-Avalos also trafficked illegal drugs, including marijuana, and cocaine. A large share of the proceeds of the gang’s illegal activities were sent to gang leadership in El Salvador to further promote the illicit activities of the gang, using structured transactions and intermediaries to avoid law enforcement scrutiny.

Six murders

MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence both to maintain membership and discipline within the gang, as well as against rival gang members. Participation in criminal activity by a member, particularly in violent acts directed at rival gangs or as directed by gang leadership, increase the respect accorded to that member, resulting in that member maintaining or increasing his position in the gang and opens the door to promotion to a leadership position.

As detailed during their trial, Flores-Reyes, Jacome, and Contreras-Avalos participated in at least six murders, including four minor victims, during the period of the conspiracy. Most of the victims were purported gang rivals except for one minor victim. For example, in June 2016, members of MS-13, including Contreras-Avalos, stabbed to death two individuals living on the streets of Hyattsville, Maryland, who gang members believed to be members of the 18th Street gang. The investigation revealed no evidence that the victims were in fact members of any gang.

See, hear, and say nothing

Among the most important rules of MS-13 is the prohibition against talking to law enforcement, embodied by the maxim ver, oir, y callar – see, hear, and say nothing. The gang enforced this rule by placing a “green light” – an order to kill – on any member of MS-13 who was thought to be informing on the gang. In December 2016, Jacome directed and participated in the murder of a 14-year-old member of MS-13 who was suspected of talking to the police. The boy’s remains were discovered more than 18 months later in the woods outside of Germantown, Maryland.

Additionally, in March 2017, a member of the Sailors Clique, who was hiding from law enforcement in the Lynchburg, Virginia, area, after committing a murder in 2016 in Gaithersburg, Maryland, had a dispute with a local high school student over marijuana. In response, Flores-Reyes told a group of MS-13 members to drive down to Lynchburg and murder this student. The gang members kidnapped the student from his front lawn and cut his hand off before killing him. After the murder, Flores-Reyes helped to hide and protect his fellow MS-13 members from law enforcement.

“MS-13 exploits vulnerable young people and immigrant communities”

“MS-13 terrorizes communities throughout the United States and abroad, using fear, violence, and intimidation,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “MS-13 exploits vulnerable young people and immigrant communities that may not have easy access to law enforcement. This prosecution demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to dismantling this criminal organization and protecting all people.”

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