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Eight alleged MS-13 members charged; allegations include murder of teen in Bedford County

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By Tom Wilmoth

A federal grand jury returned an indictment on September 27 and it was unsealed Wednesday. The indictment charges the defendants in connection with a conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise known as the La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. The indictments include charges associated with the death of a Lynchburg teen who was killed in Bedford County.

Those indicted include:

Carlos Roberto Tejada Cruz, a/k/a “Krusty,” age 20, of Beltsville, Maryland;

Kevin Alexis Hernandez-Guevara, a/k/a “Stop,” age 20, of Landover Hills, Maryland;

Rolando Aristides Juarez-Vasquez, a/k/a “Virus,” a/k/a “Daffy,” age 22, of Hyattsville, Maryland;

Jeffry Rodriguez, a/k/a “Hyper,” age 21, of Beltsville, Maryland;

Junior Noe Alvarado-Requeno, a/k/a “Insolente,” a/k/a “Trankilo,” age 20, of Landover, Maryland;

Michael Eduardo Contreras, a/k/a “Katra,” a/k/a “Insoportable,” age 22, of Silver Spring, Maryland;

Luis Fernando Orellana-Estrada, a/k/a “Pinguino,” age 18, of Hyattsville, Maryland; and

Donald Roberto Mendez-Lopez, a/k/a “Chuckie,” age 18, of Hyattsville, Maryland.

All of the defendants are in custody.

According to the indictment, MS-13 is a national and international gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador.  Branches or “cliques” of MS-13, one of the largest street gangs in the United States, operate throughout Prince George’s County and Montgomery County, Maryland.  The defendants were allegedly members of the Sailors Clique of MS-13.  The four count superseding indictment alleges that from at least 2015 through September 2017, the defendants were members and associates of MS-13 who planned and committed murders, drug and gun trafficking and extortions.

For a period of time beginning at least in 2015 through September 2017, the Sailors Clique is alleged to have extorted owners of illegal businesses in the Langley Park and Wheaton areas of Maryland, with the extortion proceeds being sent to El Salvador to benefit MS-13. In addition, members of the Sailors Clique allegedly trafficked narcotics, including marijuana and cocaine in Langley Park, Maryland, with the proceeds benefiting the gang.

More specifically, the indictment alleges that on June 16, 2016, Alvarado-Requeno, planned with and directed other MS-13 members and associates to murder an individual who was thought to be a member of the rival 18th Street gang in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

The allegations state that on July 29, 2016, Tejada-Cruz, Hernandez-Guevara and other members and associates of MS-13 allegedly planned another murder. After luring the victim to a secluded location, Tejada-Cruz attempted to shoot the victim, and Tejada-Cruz and others stabbed the victim to death.

It is alleged that on March 27, 2017, Contreras arranged for members of the Sailors Clique to travel from Maryland to Lynchburg, Virginia, where they murdered a victim in Bedford County.

The indictment further alleges that on August 9, 2016, Tejada-Cruz, Hernandez-Guevara and Rodriguez planned a drug deal to purchase marijuana. Hernandez-Guevara and Rodriguez attempted to steal the marijuana by brandishing a gun and knife, and in the course of the robbery shot and stabbed two individuals.

According to the indictment, on June 1, 2017, Juarez-Vasquez and other members and associates of MS-13 exchanged words with an individual in the Adelphi area of Maryland, and threw MS-13 gang signs. The allegations state that Juarez-Vasquez shot the victim in the head, killing him.

Alvarado-Requino, Tejada-Cruz, Hernandez-Guevara, and Juarez-Vasquez face a maximum sentence of life in prison.  Rodriguez, Contreras, Orellana-Estrada and Mendez-Lopez face a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison for conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise.  Tejada-Cruz and Hernandez-Guevara also face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering.  Orellana-Estrada and Mendez-Lopez also face a maximum of twenty years in prison for conspiring to interfere with interstate commerce by extortion.

Contreras is also charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Orellana-Estrada and Mendez-Lopez have been charged with conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce by extortion, which carries a possible sentence of 20 years in prison.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

The indictment was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning; Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco; Special Agent in Charge Ivan Arvelo of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Assistant Director in Charge Andrew W. Vale of FBI Washington Field Office; Special Agent in Charge of DEA Karl C. Colder;  Chief Henry P. Stawinksi III of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks; Chief Douglas Holland of the Hyattsville Police Department; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.

Acting United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning thanked the FBI Washington Field Office, HSI, DEA, the Prince George’s County Police Department, the Hyattsville Police Department, the Montgomery County Police Department, the State’s Attorney’s Office of Prince George’s County, and the State’s Attorney’s Office of Montgomery County. Mr. Schenning also commended Assistant United States Attorneys William D. Moomau and Daniel C. Gardner of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland and Trial Attorney Catherine K. Dick of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, who are prosecuting this case.