June 22, 2024
Indictment Names A Dozen Members of A Violent Transnational Criminal Gang In An Alleged RICO Conspiracy
Indictment Names A Dozen Members of A Violent Transnational Criminal Gang In An Alleged RICO Conspiracy            WASHINGTON – An 11-count indictment, unsealed today, charges 12...

            WASHINGTON – An 11-count indictment, unsealed today, charges 12 members of a violent transnational criminal organization in a Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act conspiracy that included kidnapping, murder, robbery, witness tampering, and drug trafficking. Federal agents with the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE-ERO), US Marshals Service, and officers of the Metropolitan Police Department arrested one defendant this morning; 11 defendants were previously taken into custody on these or other charges.

            The charges were announced by United States Attorney Matthew M. Graves, FBI Special Agent in Charge Wayne Jacobs, of the Washington Field Office Criminal and Cyber Divisions, Field Office Director Russ Hott of the ICE-ERO Washington Field Office, the US Marshal Service Washington Office, and Chief Robert J. Contee, III, of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Charges include: conspiracy to participate in a racketeer influenced and corrupt organization, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to commit kidnapping resulting in death, possession and discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, unlawful possession of a firearm by an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States, and tampering with a witness, victim, or informant. (see defendant chart for list of charges pertaining to each)

            The indictment alleges that the defendants are members of “18th Street,” a violent international street gang who, between at least 2019 and August 2022, in the District of Columbia, District of Maryland, Eastern District of Virginia, District of Delaware and elsewhere, knowingly, and intentionally conspired to conduct and participate, directly and indirectly, in the conduct of the enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity consisting of multiple murders, kidnappings, and other crimes, and financed their enterprise through drug sales, illegal firearm sales, armed robberies, and the collection of dues from members.

            According to the indictment, members are required to commit acts of violence to further the interests of the gang. These violent acts are often directed against rival gang members, 18th Street members who violate gang rules or otherwise disrespect the gang, and persons who are suspected of cooperating with law enforcement. Additionally, 18th Street members sell and transport narcotics, weapons, and other contraband to generate money to support the gang and its criminal activities. Some of the proceeds of this criminal activity are wired to members of the gang’s leadership in other countries. 18th Street members control geographical areas and use violence to maintain their control.

            Members of 18th Street are organized into “cliques,” or smaller groups operating within specific cities or regions that all operate under the umbrella rules of 18th Street to include the following: the Tiny Locos Surenos (“TLS”), Los Crazy Brothers (“LCB”), and the Revolucionarios. Defendants Alvarado-Velasquez, Ibarra-Cristales, Maradiaga, Boteo, and Rolando and Andree Martinez-Mora were members and associates of LCB.  Defendants Diaz-Lopez, Madrid-Flores, Hernandez-Menjivar, Rodriguez, Guevara-Villatoro, and Vasquez-Izara were members and associates of TLS.

            The 18th Street gang is highly organized and well structured. It follows initiation rituals, uses specific gang signs, colors and symbols, and requires adherence to and enforcement of specific rules of conduct and payment of dues that are used, in part, to support the gang and its members. 18th Street cliques often work cooperatively to engage in criminal activity and to assist one another in avoiding detection by law enforcement.

            The indictment further alleges that 18th Street members engaged in murder, kidnapping, assault, threats of violence, and other crimes in order to: preserve, expand, and protect the power, territory, and reputation of the gang; be promoted within the gang; and punish and discipline members and associates who violate the rules, including improperly associating with rival gang members. For example, on July 14, 2021, members of the TLS and LCB cliques murdered Carlos Ramos Martinez in part due to his association with a rival faction within 18th Street.  In addition, on December 19, 2021, members of the TLS and LCB cliques murdered Danis Alcides Salgado Mata because they believed he was a member or associate of a rival gang.

            The government is also seeking forfeiture of all any and all assets acquired through the gang’s illegal activities.

            An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

            This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

            In announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Graves, SAC Jacobs, Field Director Hott, and Chief Contee commended the work of those investigating the case from the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Enforcement Removal Operations, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and the Montgomery County, Maryland Police Department.  They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences and the Montgomery County, Maryland State’s Attorney’s Office. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gilead Light, Jack Korba, Christopher Marin, and Will Hart, who are investigating and prosecuting the case.

 

DEFENDANT LIST

 

NAME

AGE

ADDRESS

CHARGES

Jose Santos Alvarado-Velasquez

 

22

 

Takoma Park, MD

RICO-Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Commit VICAR-Murder, VICAR-ADW, Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping Resulting in Death, Possession of Firearm – Crime of Violence, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm – Illegal Alien

Gerlin Neptali Diaz-Lopez

21

Washington, DC

RICO-Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Commit VICAR-Murder, VICAR-ADW, Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping Resulting in Death, Possession of Firearm – Crime of Violence, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm – Illegal Alien

Jose Anselmo Ibarra-Cristales

22

Beltsville, MD

RICO-Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Commit VICAR-Murder, VICAR-ADW, Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping Resulting in Death, Possession of Firearm – Crime of Violence, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm – Illegal Alien

Carlos Rolando Martinez-Mora

23

Hyattsville, MD

RICO-Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Commit VICAR-Murder x2, VICAR-ADW x2, Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping Resulting in Death, Possession of Firearm – Crime of Violence x2

Bradley Andree Martinez-Mora

20

Hyattsville, MD

RICO-Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Commit VICAR-Murder, VICAR-ADW, Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping Resulting in Death

Jexon Madrid-Flores

21

Boston, MA

RICO-Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping Resulting in Death

Sindy Paola Hernandez-Menjivar

19

Woodbury, NJ

Witness Tampering

Milton Benjamin Guevara-Villatoro

21

El Salvador

RICO-Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Commit VICAR-Murder, VICAR-ADW, Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping Resulting in Death

Cesar De La O Rodriguez

19

Washington, DC

RICO-Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Commit VICAR-Murder, VICAR-ADW, Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping Resulting in Death, Possession of Firearm – Crime of Violence, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm – Illegal Alien

Bryan Delfino Vasquez-Izara

20

Washington, DC

RICO-Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping Resulting in Death

Elvis Mauricio Maradiaga

21

Bladensburg, MD

RICO-Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping Resulting in Death

Carlos Giovani Linares Boteo

26

Washington, DC

RICO-Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Commit VICAR-Murder, VICAR-ADW, Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping Resulting in Death

Originally published at https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/washingtondc/news/indictment-names-a-dozen-members-of-a-violent-transnational-criminal-gang-in-an-alleged-rico-conspiracy

originally published at HUMAN RIGHTS - USA DAILY NEWS 24