Maryland, Virginia MS-13 gang heads convicted in massive murder, drug, extortion and racketeering conspiracy

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The DEA, joined by the FBI, Justice Department, Homeland Security Investigations and local police, announced the convictions of three MS-13 gang leaders accused of trafficking drugs, extorting businesses, and who were linked to at least six murders in Maryland and Virginia, including a 14-year-old found butchered in the woods and a high schooler whose hand was chopped off after being kidnapped from his front lawn. 

Luis Flores-Reyes, 41, of Arlington, Virginia, as well as Jairo Jacome, 40, and Brayan Contreras-Avalos, 27, both of Langley Park, Maryland, were convicted on Monday on federal charges related to alleged MS-13 activities.

Jacome and Flores-Reyes were found guilty of murder in aid of racketeering and extortion conspiracy. Flores-Reyes and Contreras-Avalos were found guilty of a drug distribution conspiracy.

As detailed during their trial, the three men participated in at least six murders, including four minor victims, during the period of the conspiracy. 

FBI SAYS NY MIGRANT GANG MS-13 TRYING TO ‘REBUILD’ AFTER INDICTMENT UPDATE FOR STRING OF MACHETE MURDERS 

A tree with MS-13 graffiti is pictured in the Langley Hampshire Neighborhood Park in Langley Park, Maryland, in a gang hangout area known as the cemetery. 

A tree with MS-13 graffiti is pictured in the Langley Hampshire Neighborhood Park in Langley Park, Maryland, in a gang hangout area known as the cemetery. 
(Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Most of the victims were purported gang rivals except for one minor victim. In June 2016, members of MS-13, including Contreras-Avalos, stabbed to death two individuals living on the streets of Hyattsville, Maryland.

This file photo shows armed police from Maryland's Prince George's County Anti-Gang Unit question and detain a confirmed gang member of Mara Salvatrucha 13, or MS-13, in April 2006 in Langley Park, Maryland. 

This file photo shows armed police from Maryland’s Prince George’s County Anti-Gang Unit question and detain a confirmed gang member of Mara Salvatrucha 13, or MS-13, in April 2006 in Langley Park, Maryland. 
(Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

In December 2016, Jacome directed and participated in the murder of a 14-year-old member of MS-13 who was suspected of talking to the police. The boy’s remains were discovered more than 18 months later in the woods outside of Germantown, Maryland.

In March 2017, a member of the Sailors Clique, who was hiding from law enforcement in the Lynchburg, Virginia, area after committing a murder in 2016 in Gaithersburg, Maryland, had a dispute with a local high school student over marijuana. In response, Flores-Reyes told a group of MS-13 members to drive down to Lynchburg and murder this student. 

This file photo shows a confirmed gang member of Mara Salvatrucha 13, or MS-13, tattoos being photographed for a police database in Langley Park, Maryland. 

This file photo shows a confirmed gang member of Mara Salvatrucha 13, or MS-13, tattoos being photographed for a police database in Langley Park, Maryland. 
(Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, the defendants ran an extortion scheme in and around Langley Park, extorting local businesses by charging them “rent” for the privilege of operating in MS-13 “territory.”  Flores-Reyes and Contreras-Avalos also trafficked illegal drugs.  A large share of the proceeds of the gang’s illegal activities was sent to gang leadership in El Salvador to further promote the illicit activities of the gang, using structured transactions and intermediaries to avoid law enforcement scrutiny, federal prosecutors said.

Flores-Reyes and Jacome face a mandatory sentence of life in prison, while Contreras-Avalos faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to prosecutors. 

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U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis has not scheduled sentencing hearings at this time.

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