NEWARK, N.J. – Eight members of the New Jersey branch of the international street gang “La Mara Salvatrucha,” or “MS-13” – including the branch’s founding member – were convicted by a federal jury today of racketeering-related crimes, including multiple acts of violence. The convictions follow an investigation initiated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 7, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler of the District of New Jersey.
According to evidence presented at trial, MS-13 is a national and transnational gang with branches or “cliques” operating throughout the United States, including in Plainfield. All of the defendants were members of the Plainfield Locos Salvatrucha (PLS) Clique of MS-13.
In addition to these convictions, five of the 14 other defendants charged in this investigation have pleaded guilty to their roles in the racketeering conspiracy. One defendant remains a fugitive.
FBI’s Newark Field Office investigated the case with the assistance ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations. The Union County Prosecutor’s Office provided substantial assistance in the investigation. The Somerset County, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office; Middlesex County, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office; U.S. Attorney’s Offices of the Eastern District of Virginia and the District of Maryland; Plainfield Police Department; Union County Police Department; Union County Sheriff’s Office; Elizabeth, New Jersey, Police Department; North Plainfield, New Jersey, Police Department; Union County Department of Corrections; Prince George’s County, Maryland, Police Department; and the U.S. Marshals Service also provided assistance in this matter. Trial Attorney Kevin L. Rosenberg of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys James Donnelly and Jamari Buxton of the District of New Jersey prosecuted this case.