MS-13 Suspects Had Local Charges

By Ruben Castaneda and Phuong Ly
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, August 27, 2005

Early on a sunny spring afternoon two years ago, five young men walked up to Noel B. Gudiel on a residential street in Langley Park and asked if he was with Vatos Locos, a clique affiliated with MS-13, the Latino street gang.

Yes, Gudiel said.

That reply cost him his life.

The five men, members of a rival faction of the gang also known as Mara Salvatrucha, beat and kicked Gudiel, according to a charging document filed by Detective Kerry W. Jernigan of the Prince George's County police homicide squad.

When Gudiel fell to his knees, one of his attackers, Henry S. Zelaya, pulled out a handgun and shot him in the head, according to Jernigan's account.

Gudiel's brutal killing is one of six slayings and four nonfatal attacks cited in a federal indictment, announced Thursday, that charges 19 suspected members of MS-13 with racketeering. Eight of the attacks occurred in Prince George's, the other two in Montgomery County.

Most of the gang's victims are Latino, and some are other gang members, police and federal agents said.

The 10-page indictment alleges conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, robbery and obstruction of justice.

The indictment is short on details of the individual crimes and does not describe the methods and sources the task force of federal and local investigators used to build its case.

An accomplice to the Gudiel slaying provided police with specific information about the attack, according to the charging document against Zelaya, 18.

Some of the crimes cited in the indictment, such as the Gudiel slaying, are detailed in charging documents filed in Prince George's and Montgomery circuit courts. Ten of the 19 suspects named by the government were already in custody on local charges when authorities rounded up the rest during early morning raids Thursday.

At least four of those who were indicted have been charged in Prince George's and Montgomery with murder, according to court records. Two eventually pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact. Others named in the indictment have also been charged with local handgun violations, court records show.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2005 The Washington Post Company