Alleged members of the violent Mara Salvatrucha street gang have been indicted in federal court, accused of slayings, assaults and robberies in the Maryland suburbs.
The indictment, which was unsealed this week in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, describes attacks and killings motivated by gang rivalry or retribution against people thought to be cooperating with authorities. The gang operated in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties and allegedly got money from member dues and extortion of high school students as well as by running brothels.
The nine defendants face a variety of charges, including racketeering, extortion and witness tampering in connection with crimes that occurred over more than five years.
According to the indictment, the gang — also known as MS-13 — is linked to five Prince George’s killings.
On Jan. 10, 2011, federal authorities say, members of the gang armed with a machete and other knives killed Juan Moreno Aguilar, 25, who they thought was in a rival gang, in a former grocery store parking lot on University Boulevard. According to the indictment, Aguilar was killed after a gang leader in El Salvador, where the group has its roots, ordered that rival gang members be killed in revenge for the deaths of two MS-13 members.
In the summer of 2012, according to the indictment, gang members planned to kill Ingrid Lizet Martinez-Alvarez, 22, because they thought she was associated with a rival gang.
On Aug. 28, 2012, according to court papers, one member “tricked” the woman into going out to socialize. Martinez-Alvarez was fatally shot that night in Beltsville Community Park, court papers say. Her body was not identified until days later, when neighbors recognized images of her tattoos.
Authorities say gang members fatally stabbed 34-year-old Nicolas Antonio Gonzalez on Feb. 23, 2013, near his Langley Park home because he was believed to be an ex-MS-13 member who was cooperating with federal authorities.
According to the indictment, gang members also killed Meyder Bladimir Yuman, 18, and Erick Amilicar Mendez-Orellana, 23, both targeted because of associations with a rival gang.
The indictment also accuses members of carrying out robberies and other attacks, including one in which a gang member who was in the Prince George’s County Detention Center allegedly assaulted another inmate with a lunch tray and a trash can.
If convicted, the nine defendants face sentences ranging from 20 years to life in prison.