A program leader for an international criminal gang pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday for conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise which included attempted murder announced the Justice Department.
“MS-13 is an organization ruthlessly committed to living up to its motto—‘Kill, Steal, Rape, Control,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “Fortunately, today’s plea demonstrates that the Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners are committed to relentlessly pursuing the gang and its leadership.”
“DEA and our partners work hard every day to ensure the safety of our communities,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Hoernke. “Following this case through to a guilty plea shows our commitment to hold accountable those who jeopardize the safety of our neighborhoods. We will continue to investigate criminal enterprises that have a callous disregard for the destruction they cause.”
Jose Augustin Salmeron-Larios aka “Joseph Morales-Martinez,” “Angel Salvador Gutierrez,” “Yankee,” and “Kean,” 25, of Severn, Maryland, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise known as La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13; attempted murder in aid of racketeering and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
“Salmeron-Larios’s arrest and conviction have dealt a significant blow to MS-13 in Maryland,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “As the founder and leader of the Maryland Program, Salmeron-Larios organized and coordinated violence, drug trafficking and extortion among six cliques operating in the Maryland area. His arrest helped to dismantle the Maryland Program and the effort to create a permanent structure under which these cliques worked.”
According to his plea agreement, from at least January 2015 through September 2016, Salmeron-Larios was a member of the PVLS clique and served as the MS-13 Maryland Program Leader. Salmeron-Larios admitted to participating in numerous acts in furtherance of the racketeering conspiracy.
VIA the Justice Department:
“For example, in April 2015, Salmeron-Larios and other MS-13 members and associates traveled to New York, met with MS-13 members there and discussed MS-13 business. Salmeron-Larios admitted that on Nov. 7, 2015, he and other MS-13 members and associates traveled to Hyattsville, Maryland, intending to murder Victim 1, who was believed to be a member of the 18th Street Gang. Two MS-13 co-conspirators lured Victim 1 to a location in Hyattsville. Salmeron-Larios and two MS-13 co-conspirators, all armed with firearms, went to the meeting location. Salmeron-Larios and the armed MS-13 co-conspirators got out of the car while another MS-13 accomplice waited in the vehicle. The victim arrived in a car driven by another person and one of Salmeron-Larios’s MS-13 co-conspirators fired his handgun into the vehicle, attempting to kill Victim 1, who was struck in the face by one of the gunshots. Salmeron-Larios and his accomplices returned to their vehicle and left the area. The guns used during this crime, including the gun possessed by Salmeron-Larios, were taken to the residence of the co-conspirator who shot Victim 1. Victim 1 survived the shooting, but lost an eye, sustained loss of hand and leg function, and was permanently disfigured as a result of the shooting. Salmeron-Larios participated in the shooting in order to gain entrance to, maintain, and increase his position in MS-13.”
Salmeron-Larios faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise; a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for attempted murder in aid of racketeering; and a mandatory 10 years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, and up to life in prison, for using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence.
U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis has scheduled sentencing for Salmeron-Larios for Dec. 7 at 10 a.m.