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Transnational Gangs

3 alleged MS-13 members charged in murder conspiracy

3 alleged MS-13 members charged in murder conspiracy
3 alleged MS-13 members charged in murder conspiracy

GREENBELT, Md. — A federal grand jury indicted three men Monday in connection with a conspiracy to participate in murder in aid of a racketeering enterprise known as La Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13.

The indictment follows an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Prince George's and Montgomery police departments as well as the Prince George's and Montgomery state attorney's offices.

Indicted were Jorge Enrique Moreno-Aguilar aka Flaco and Castigato, 20, of District Heights, Md.; Juan Alberto Ortiz-Orellana, aka Chele and Furia, 25, of District Heights and Melvin Marquez-Sanchez aka Demente, 20, formerly of New York.

"Today's indictment is a significant disruption to the illegal operations of MS-13 in Maryland," said HSI Special Agent in Charge William Winter. "The members of MS-13 spread violence and fear wherever they exist and prey on innocent people, displaying a shocking disregard for human life. HSI will continue to aggressively work with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in the state of Maryland to target violent transnational gang members who threaten the safety of our communities."

"Gang investigators from the Prince George's County Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department, and HSI Baltimore's Gang Unit collaborated to develop the identification of these suspects, which led to their arrest and indictment," stated Prince George's County Police Chief Mark Magaw. "Today's indictment is the result of the highly effective partnership that exists among the gang investigators who continue their relentless attack on gang activity in our region."

MS-13 is a national and international gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador. Branches or cliques of MS-13, one of the largest street gangs in the United States, operate throughout Prince George's County and Montgomery County.

The four-count indictment alleges that the defendants were members and associates of MS-13. Between January and March, they targeted an individual believed to be affiliated with rival 18th Street Gang. According to the indictment, the defendants obtained photos of the victim, and planned his murder. Moreno-Aguilar and Ortiz-Orellana possessed a gun and on March 12, they went to Capital Heights, Md., found and shot the victim multiple times, killing him, then fled and disposed of the gun.

All three defendants face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for conspiring to commit murder in aid of racketeering. Moreno-Aguilar and Ortiz-Orellana also face a maximum sentence of life in prison for murder in aid of racketeering, murder resulting in the use of a gun and using a firearm during a crime of violence.

Moreno-Aguilar and Ortiz-Orellana are currently in state custody on related state charges. Marquez-Sanchez is currently in ICE custody. The defendants are expected to have their initial appearances in federal court in Greenbelt within the next couple weeks.

This Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William D. Moomau and Kevin Rosenberg, a trial attorney with the Justice Department's Organized Crime and Gang Section.