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April 9, 2021Houston, TX, United StatesTransnational Gangs

7th member of MS-13 criminal enterprise indicted for murder

HOUSTON – A seventh member of the violent transnational criminal street gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), is set to appear in federal court Friday for his alleged role in a brutal 2018 murder.

Carlos Elias Henriquez-Torres, a 20-year-old Salvadoran national who illegally resided in Houston, was indicted on March 31, for conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering. He is scheduled to appear in the Southern District of Texas at 2 p.m. on April 9, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Edison. Henriquez-Torres was previously in state custody on related charges.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Houston, Texas, conducted the joint investigation along with the FBI and Houston Police Department.

Previously indicted for conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering in connection with the same 2018 murder were Salvadoran nationals Wilson Jose Venture-Mejia, 24, Jimmy Villalobos-Gomez, 24, Angel Miguel Aguilar-Ochoa, 35, Walter Antonio Chicas-Garcia, 24 and Marlon Miranda-Moran, 21. Villalobos-Gomez is a lawful permanent resident in the U.S., but the remaining men unlawfully resided in Houston. The charges against all five of these individuals remain pending. 

Also named in the indictment is Franklin Trejo-Chavarria, 23, who is currently in custody in El Salvador.

The indictment alleges that they beat the victim to death with machetes in 2018 to further their positions in the MS-13 criminal enterprise. If convicted, they face a potential death sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Britni Cooper and John Michael Lewis are prosecuting the case along with Trial Attorneys Julie A. Finocchiaro, Gerald Collins and Matthew Hoff from the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.