MS-13

Suspected LA Gang Members Charged in MS-13 Crackdown

On Tuesday, 11 of 13 defendants named in an indictment filed in Las Vegas were taken into custody: four defendants were arrested in the Los Angeles area, and seven were arrested in Las Vegas.

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More than a dozen suspected leaders, members and associates of the violent transnational criminal organization MS-13 are facing federal charges, including transporting bulk quantities of methamphetamine from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

On Tuesday, 11 of 13 defendants named in an indictment filed in Las Vegas were taken into custody: four defendants were arrested in the Los Angeles area, and seven were arrested in Las Vegas.

The arrests were part of a national takedown coordinated between law enforcement agencies in the Central District of California and other federal jurisdictions.

At a briefing at the White House on Wednesday, President Donald Trump commended what he called ``my administration's all-out campaign to destroy MS-13, a vile and evil gang of people."

The operation led to the arrest and indictment of  "dozens of savage MS-13 members and leaders all across the country," the president said. "While radical left-wing politicians have fought to open borders and welfare for illegal aliens, my administration has fought for safe streets. We want security for our people. We want the rule of law. We want law and order."

Attorney General William Barr said Trump in 2017 directed the DOJ "to go to war against MS-13, and we did just that. In coordination with our partners at the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department's law enforcement components have successfully investigated, charged and arrested command and control elements of MS-13 responsible for murder."

Barr said the operation ``significantly degraded MS-13's capabilities. While there is still work to be done, the Department of Justice remains committed to protecting Americans threatened by MS-13, and we will not rest until we have successfully defeated this transnational criminal organization."

As detailed in the indictment, Mara Salvatrucha -- known as MS-13 -- originated in Los Angeles and has since spread across the country. The gang is organized by cliques, such as Hollywood Locos and Fulton. In the southwestern United States, the Hollywood Locos clique operates in several major cities, including Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

The Los Angeles-area-based defendants are:
-- Jose Alfredo ``Blackie'' Ayala-Flores, 39, of Inglewood, who is charged with five counts of distribution of a controlled substance and one count each of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm. Prosecutors allege Ayala-Flores is a shot caller for the gang who led the MS-13 Los Angeles program, a leadership group that seeks to unify MS-13 decision-making throughout the United States;
-- Alvaro Ernesto Perez ``Toro'' Carias, 50, of Los Angeles, is charged with one count each of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance. Perez Carias is also an alleged shot caller and a founding member of the Hollywood Locos clique. Due to supply issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Perez Carias allegedly personally delivered large quantities of methamphetamine from Los Angeles to Las Vegas this year;
-- Juan Angel Reyes, also known as Angel and Mysterio, 21, of Van Nuys, is charged with one count each of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance;
-- Miguel Angel ``Flaco'' Nieto-Romero, 26, of Los Angeles, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and three counts of distribution of a controlled substance;
-- Jose Gerardo Cortez-Diaz, also known as Christian Axel Lopez-Cortez and as Chiquilin, 20, of Los Angeles, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and one count of distribution of a controlled substance;
-- Carlos ``Troso'' Lopez-Guzman, 41, of Los Angeles, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and three counts of distribution of a controlled substance; and
-- Pedro Ernesto ``Cuba'' Montalvo, 35, of Hawthorne, who is charged with one count each of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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