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Transnational Gangs
07/12/2016

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Founder of MS-13 in Massachusetts sentenced for illegal re-entry

BOSTON — One of the founding members of the Massachusetts branch of a violent gang based in El Salvador, was sentenced in federal court Tuesday to three years in prison for illegally re-entering the United States after being deported.

This sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Carlos Geovanni Martinez-Aguilar, 38, originally of Mesquite, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to three years in prison and two years of supervised release.  In April 2016, Martinez-Aguilar pleaded guilty to unlawful re-entry of a deported alien.

In 1977, Martinez-Aguilar was born in El Salvador and illegally entered the United States in 1995.  In September 2002, he was convicted in Middlesex Superior Court of unarmed robbery and was deported from the United States to El Salvador in July 2003.

Prior to his 2003 deportation, Martinez-Aguilar was the leader of the MS-13 gang in the North Shore area – loosely known as the coastal area between Boston and New Hampshire.  Known by his gang nickname, “Buffalo,” Martinez-Aguilar was well known by MS-13 gang members and local law enforcement as one of the founders of MS-13 in Massachusetts.  MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, is a transnational street gang with origins in El Salvador, which is notorious for using extreme violence, including violence against their rival gangs.

In 2005, federal law enforcement learned that Martinez-Aguilar had returned to the United States following his deportation.  Agents determined that he had been arrested using a false name in Lawrence for assault with a dangerous weapon, making threats, giving a false name to police and armed robbery.  However, Martinez-Aguilar posted bail and was released before the Lawrence Police Department learned his true identity.  Martinez-Aguilar then defaulted on the charges and a warrant was issued for his arrest as a fugitive.

Federal agents continued to track Martinez-Aguilar, which included referring the case to America’s Most Wanted, a national show that profiles the search for dangerous fugitives.  A segment on “Buffalo” aired in early 2009 in an effort to get the public’s assistance in apprehending Martinez-Aguilar.

Martinez-Aguilar was arrested Sept. 23, 2015, in the Dallas, Texas area.

During today’s sentencing hearing, Judge Gorton referred to MS-13 as a deadly and violent gang and cited the need to protect the public as a basis for his sentence of incarceration.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn MacKinlay of Ortiz's Organized Crime and Gang Unit.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/13/2016