Tuesday, November 24, 2020

MS-13 members charged with murder

 HOUSTON – Five local members of the violent Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) international street gang are set to appear in court following charges of conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Wilson Jose Ventura-Mejia, 24, Jimmy Villalobos-Gomez, 23, Angel Miguel Aguilar-Ochoa, 35, Walter Antonio Chicas-Garcia, 23, and Marlon Miranda-Moran, 21, will appear for their arraignments and detention hearings via video before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sam S. Sheldon at 10 a.m. All are El  Salvadorian nationals who illegally resided in Houston. Also charged is Franklin Trejo-Chavarria, 23, who is currently in custody in El Salvador.

A federal grand jury returned the indictment Nov. 12. All are charged with conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering.  

The indictment alleges they committed a 2018 murder in furtherance of the MS-13 enterprise. The victim was allegedly beaten to death with machetes in order for the defendants to further their positions in the enterprise. 

If convicted, they face a potential death sentence.

The FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and Houston Police Department conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Britni Cooper and John Michael Lewis are prosecuting the case along with Trial Attorneys Julie A. Finocchiaro, Gerald Collins and Matthew Hoff from the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

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