Six members of the dreaded violent street gang MS-13 were indicted in Maryland this week on charges of murder, conspiracy and racketeering.
Those indicted have remained unidentified for now, with ages ranging from 19 to 22. They are part of the notorious Central-America linked group that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions described last year as a priority for the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.
The defendants are all residents of Annapolis and were detained on either federal or state criminal charges. Prosecutors said their initial court appearances have not yet taken place. Their immigration status was also not clear at the time of their indictment.
Among the crimes linked to the individuals in the latest rounds of indictments involved a 2016 murder case in Annapolis. Authorities share that Juan Carlos Sandoval Rodriguez, 20, convinced the victim to enter a park where he was ambushed and killed by multiple gang members. The crime is suspected to have been carried out with the intention of positively influencing the participants’ standing with the gang’s ranks.
Just two weeks ago, another alleged MS-13 member, Raul Ernesto Landaverde Giron of Silver Spring also from Maryland community was convicted in a federal racketeering conspiracy. He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Sessions said that Maryland “suffered terribly” because of what he calls “uniquely barbaric” gang’s criminal activities.
MS-13 is believe to count a strong domestic membership running into thousands. As such the violent gang has been a firm focus for the Justice Department and the Trump administration. It has become a target of the government to take the gang and its members off the streets.
Sessions even instructed law enforcement to utilize every lawful to investigate and go after MS-13.
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