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Transnational Gangs
02/22/2012

MS-13 gang member sentenced to prison for illegally re-entering the US

BALTIMORE – An El Salvadoran gang member was sentenced to more than four years in prison for illegally re-entering the United States after having been previously deported following an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.

Felix Noel Arevalo-Cantarero, aka Felix Noe Arevalo-Cantarero, 26, of Silver Spring, Md., was sentenced Feb. 15 to 55 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, by U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar. In announcing his sentence, Judge Bredar cited Arevalo-Cantarero's history of violent crime in connection with his membership in the La Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang.

The government presented evidence that Arevalo-Cantarero is a member of MS-13, a violent street gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, with members operating throughout Prince George's, Montgomery, Howard and Frederick Counties, and elsewhere in Maryland and the United States. Members of MS-13 frequently engage in criminal activity, and are required to commit acts of violence to maintain membership and discipline within the gang and against rival gangs.

In 2009, Arevalo-Cantarero was part of an MS-13 assault. In that case, Arevalo-Cantarero and two other men approached two males and one female shouting derogatory slurs. One of the males was dressed as a woman at the time of the assault. Arevalo-Cantarero and the others identified themselves as MS-13 gang members and began throwing rocks at the victims. One of the victims was hit in the head by a rock, fracturing the victim's skull, and causing severe internal bleeding. The victim suffered significant pain and loss of memory and motor function. Arevalo-Cantarero was convicted of first degree assault in Montgomery County Circuit Court and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with all but six months suspended. On Nov. 18, 2010, after being released from prison from the assault conviction, Arevalo-Cantarero was deported to El Salvador and was ordered not to re-enter the United States without official permission.

Sometime prior to July 31, 2011, Arevalo-Cantarero illegally returned to the United States and resided in the Silver Spring, Md., area.

On July 31, 2011, Frederick police officers, responding to a report of a stabbing, found Arevalo-Cantarero in a playground, suffering from numerous cutting/stabbing wounds to the head and neck. He was taken to Hagerstown Medical Center and was arrested upon his release from the hospital. Further investigation revealed that Arevalo-Cantarero is an active MS-13 member, part of the Fulton Clique, which is active in the Frederick area. Arevalo-Cantarero was in Frederick attending a party, along with other MS-13 members and associates, when the stabbing occurred. Investigators found that the stabbing was related to MS-13 activity.

The investigation was conducted by HSI and the Frederick Police Department, Hagerstown Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow.