The Department of Justice announced that a member of the violent narco-terrorist organization known as MS-13 pleaded guilty to the murder of a 15-year-old boy in East Boston, Massachusetts. Henry Josue Parada Martinez pleaded guilty in a Boston federal court on Wednesday to a RICO racketeering conspiracy charge of murder. The 22-year-old Salvadoran national had lived in East Boston, Massachusetts,and Montgomery County, Maryland. He appeared before U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV, who scheduled sentencing for March 1, 2018.

During an investigation of MS-13 in Massachusetts, Parada Martinez was identified as a member of the organization’s Molinos sub-unit or clique, which operated in East Boston and other parts of Massachusetts.  Parada Martinez admitted that on Sept. 7, 2015, he was one of four persons who murdered a 15-year-old boy on Constitution Beach in East Boston.  

Federal agents subsequently recorded conversations with Parada Martinez in which he acknowledged being a member of MS-13, and that he was one of the murderers. In those recorded conversations, he identified other MS-13 members who committed the murder with him.

After a three-year investigation, Parada Martinez was one of 61 individuals named in an indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. Parada Martinez is the twenty-sixth defendant to plead guilty in this case.

Parada Martinez faces up to life in prison, five years of supervised release, and will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

In a related case, the leader of the MS-13 East Coast Program pleaded guilty on Monday in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy. The 28-year-old Jose Adan Martinez Castro, a/k/a “Chucky,” a Salvadoran national formerly of Richmond, Virginia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct racketeering activity (RICO conspiracy).  U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Feb. 26, 2018.

After a three-year investigation, Castro was one of 61 persons named in a superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts.

MS-13 leaders incarcerated in El Salvador oversee individual branches (cliques) that are grouped into “programs” throughout the United States. During the investigation, Castro was identified as the leader of MS-13’s East Coast Program. On Dec. 13, 2015, Castro was recorded as he ran a meeting of East Coast Program clique leaders in Richmond. During the meeting, Castro and others discussed sending money to El Salvador to support MS-13, the need to work together to increase the gang’s strength and control, and the need to violently retaliate against anyone who provided information against the gang.

Castro is the 25th defendant to be convicted. He faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and will be subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Federal and local authorities in Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, along with other states, continue to battle with MS-13 and similar criminal terrorist organizations. In January 2016, federal authorities charged 56 MS-13 leaders, members and associates in a series of raids in Boston, Chelsea, Somerville, Everett, Revere, Somerville, and Lynn. More than 400 officers were involved in making the arrests. The gang is notoriously violent and known for using machetes to kill victims.

In 2012, MS-13 became the first and only street gang to be designated by the federal as a "transnational criminal organization." It has over 6,000 members in the U.S. and over 30,000 members internationally, mainly in El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. "This is a very violent gang," Massachusetts State Police Lt. Col. Frank Hughes said in a news conference. "In my 30 years of law enforcement, I've never seen a more violent gang out there. These are very very violent individuals. The violence is unspeakable." According to the FBI, aspiring gang members must kill and be beaten before being allowed to join. "This is an organized gang that engages in murder and attempted murder using machetes, knives and chains, they also engage in drug trafficking, illegal possession of firearms, robbery and obstructing of justice," said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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