DALLAS — A federal grand jury this week indicted eight MS-13 gang members on the following criminal charges: racketeering conspiracy; attempted murder in aid of racketeering; assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering; conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering; and using, carrying and possessing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
The July 11 indictment was announced by the following agency heads: U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas, Special Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Dallas Office, Field Office Director Marc Moore of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), Chief Jeff Spivey of the Irving (Texas) Police Department, Chief U. Reneé Hall of the Dallas Police Department, and District Attorney Faith Johnson of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.
Charged in the 18-count indictment, which was unsealed July 13, are the following alleged MS-13 members and associates:
- Rolan Ivan Hernandez-Fuentes, 25, aka Ivan Fuentes, Tasmania, Ronal Ivan and Fuentes Hernandez;
- Jerson Gutierrez-Ramos, 20, aka Gerson Gutierrez and Sparky;
- Cristian Wilfredo Cabrera-Cruz, 26, aka Cristin Benjamin Vigil and Mama;
- Kevin Cruz, 19, aka Street Danger;
- Jose Armando Saravia-Romero, 19, aka Jose Saravia, Mandy and Pinky;
- Manuel Amaya-Alvarez, 21, aka Manuel Amaya and Chocolate; and
- Jonathan Alexander Baires, 20, aka Splinter.
“MS-13 is one of the most violent and ruthless gangs on the streets today,” stated U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “Working with our federal, state and local partners, we are determined to dismantle this organization wherever we find it in order to make our communities safer in Texas.”
“The Department of Justice will not allow MS-13 to terrorize any community, school or street corner,” said Attorney General Sessions. “The gang has more than 10,000 members following its barbaric motto of ‘kill, rape, and control’ across 40 states, and that threatens law-abiding Americans. Today’s Indictment of eight MS-13 members – including five who are charged as illegal aliens in possession of firearms – makes clear that the Trump Administration and this Department will continue to go on offense against MS-13 with every lawful tool at our disposal. I want to thank our fabulous Department of Justice attorneys for their hard work on this case as well as our partners with HSI, ICE, the Dallas County District Attorney's office, and the Dallas and Irving Police Departments. This case is yet another step toward dismantling MS-13 and taking its members off our streets for good."
“Evil gangs like MS-13 are perpetrators of senseless violence in our communities,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott. “The Indictment of these individuals shows a continued commitment to going after these dangerous individuals and keeping our communities safe. The State of Texas will continue to offer any assistance and resources necessary to crack down on these criminals, and I thank our federal, state, and local partners in law enforcement for their ongoing efforts to address gang violence across Texas.”
According to the indictment, MS-13 is a national and transnational 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 in cities around the country, including the Irving Loco Salvatruchas (ILS) clique in the Dallas area. MS-13 members and associates are required to commit acts of violence to join the gang, and to maintain membership and discipline within the gang. One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members and associates must attack and kill rivals, known as “chavalas,” whenever possible. Members and associates of the ILS clique held meetings in multiple locations in the vicinity of Irving, Texas, including several public parks and a tunnel under Irving.
According to the Indictment, beginning on or about July 2016, and continuing through on or about the date of the Indictment, Hernandez-Fuentes, Gutierrez-Ramos and Cruz, participated in a racketeering conspiracy that included attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and robbery.
Across the racketeering conspiracy and other counts, the indictment charges the following defendants for their alleged involvement in six attacks, including multiple machete attacks, upon 10 victims, including members or associates of the rival 18th Street Gang:
|Date (on/in or about)||Location||Defendants||Weapons||Victims|
|July 14, 2017||5600 Block of Spring Valley Road in Dallas||Hernandez-Fuentes, Gutierrez-Ramos, Cabrera-Cruz||Machete and other weapons||Two (one from 18th Street Gang)|
|July 15, 2017||200 block of West Rochelle Road in Irving||Hernandez-Fuentes, Gutierrez-Ramos||Machete||One (drug dealer)|
|Aug. 9, 2017||3000 block of Webb Chapel Extension in Dallas||Hernandez-Fuentes, Gutierrez-Ramos, Cruz||Knife, sledgehammer, and other weapons||One (from 18th Street Gang)|
|Aug. 19, 2017||1900 block of East Grauwyler Road in Irving||Hernandez-Fuentes, Gutierrez-Ramos, Cruz, Saravia-Romero||Metal bat||One (from 18th Street Gang)|
|Middle of August 2017 through Aug. 20, 2017||Two Dallas parks and an apartment complex in Dallas||Hernandez-Fuentes, Gutierrez-Ramos, Cruz, Saravia-Romero||Shotgun||One (from 18th Street Gang)|
|Beginning of 2017 through Sept. 25, 2017||Various locations in Dallas and Running Bear Park in Irving||Hernandez-Fuentes, Gutierrez-Ramos, Cruz, Amaya-Alvarez, Baires||Multiple machetes, shotgun, and other weapons||Four (one from 18th Street Gang)|
Cabrera-Cruz was arrested on the indictment July 12 and made an initial appearance in Dallas. Hernandez-Fuentes, Gutierrez-Ramos, Cruz, Saravia-Romero, Amaya-Alvarez and Baires are currently in Texas state custody on charges relating to the Aug. 19, 2017 and Sept. 25, 2017, events described above. Their initial appearances will be scheduled.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. This investigation was conducted by the following agencies: HSI Dallas, Irving Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, with assistance from ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations.
Trial Attorney Joseph Wheatley of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gary Tromblay and Siddharth Mody of the Northern District of Texas, are prosecuting this case.