BALTIMORE — An MS-13 gang member from Maryland was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in federal prison for participating in the racketeering enterprise known as La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, including a murder.
Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Daniel Flores-Ventura, aka “Necio,” 26, of Aspen Hill, Maryland, to 360 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
This sentence was announced by the following agency heads: U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur, District of Maryland; Special Agent in Charge John Eisert, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boon, FBI Baltimore Field Office; Chief Barry M. Barnard of Prince William County, Virginia Police; and Chief Edward Hargis of the Frederick Police Department.
“This sentence reaffirms the message that the violence perpetrated by MS-13 members and associates will not be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Our ongoing work with our law enforcement partners to bring MS-13 members to justice demonstrates our unflagging commitment to eliminate MS-13 and its campaign of wanton violence.”
According to the plea agreement, MS-13 is a gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, with members operating in the State of Maryland and throughout the United States. Branches or “cliques” of MS-13 often work together cooperatively to engage in criminal activity and to assist one another in avoiding detection by law enforcement. MS-13 members and associates are required to commit acts of violence within the gang and against rival gangs. One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, known as “chavalas,” whenever possible.
As detailed in his plea agreement, Flores-Ventura admitted that since at least 2015 he was a member and associate of the Uniones clique of MS-13 in Maryland. He also conspired with other MS-13 members and associates, including Vilas Sail Argueta-Bermudez, Willians Ernesto Lovos-Ayala, and Michael Campos-Lemus, who were also members of the MS-13 Uniones and Molinos cliques. Flores-Ventura admitted that beginning in 2015, he and his co-conspirators and others engaged in racketeering activities, including murder and other violent acts and drug distribution.
Beginning in June or July 2015, Flores-Ventura and his co-conspirators planned and conspired to murder Victim 1, whom them believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street Gang. On July 16, 2015, Flores-Ventura and his co-conspirators lured the victim from Maryland to Virginia on the pretext that the victim was going to participate in a “court,” that is, a disciplinary beating to be administered to another individual. Flores-Ventura drove the victim, along with other MS-13 members and associates from Silver Spring, Maryland, to Woodbridge, Virginia, where they met Argueta-Bermudez, Lovos-Ayala, Campos-Lemus and other members and associates of MS-13 in a wooded area. Flores-Ventura struck the victim on the head. Thereafter, Argueta-Bermudez, Lovos-Ayala, Campos-Lemus, and other MS-13 members and associates struck and stabbed that victim multiple times with machetes and knives until the victim was dead. Flores-Ventura admitted that the victim was murdered to maintain or increase the status of MS-13 in the community, and maintain or increase the status of the MS-13 members who participated in the murder.
The following other MS-134 gang member previously pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced later this year: Vilas Sail Argueta-Bermudez, aka “Happy,” aka “Little Happy,” aka “Enchilada,” 32, of Aspen Hill, Maryland; Willians Ernesto Lovos-Ayala, aka “Tigre,” 26, of Woodbridge, Virginia; and Michael Campos-Lemus, aka “Humilde,” 25, of Aspen Hill, Maryland.
U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur thanked HSI, FBI, Prince William Police Department, and Frederick Police Department. Mr. Hur also commended Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth S. Clark, Catherine K. Dick, and Matthew DellaBetta, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.