More than a dozen suspected leaders, members and employees of the violent transnational criminal organization MS-13 have been indicted by the federal government, including the transportation of large quantities of methamphetamine from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, 11 out of 13 defendants named in a Las Vegas indictment were arrested: four were arrested in the Los Angeles area and seven in Las Vegas.
The arrests were part of a national shutdown coordinated between law enforcement agencies in the Central District of California and other federal courts.
At a White House briefing on Wednesday, President Donald Trump praised what he called "my government's comprehensive campaign to destroy MS-13, a hideous and evil gang of people."
The operation resulted in the arrest and indictment of "dozens of wild MS-13 members and leaders across the country," the president said. “While radical left-wing politicians have fought for the opening of borders and the welfare of illegal foreigners, my government has fought for safe roads. We want security for our people. We want the rule of law. We want law and order. "
Attorney General William Barr said Trump instructed the DOJ in 2017 to "go to war against MS-13, and that's exactly what we did. In coordination with our partners in the Department of Homeland Security, the law enforcement components of the Department of Justice have successfully examined, accused and detained MS-13 command and control elements responsible for murder. "
Barr said the operation had significantly affected MS-13's capabilities. While much remains to be done, the Department of Justice is still committed to protecting the Americans at risk from MS-13 and we will not rest until we have successfully defeated this transnational criminal organization. "
As stated 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 like 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-based defendants are:
– Jose Alfredo "Blackie" Ayala-Flores, 39, of Inglewood, who has been charged with five controlled substance distributions and one conspiracy count for distributing a controlled substance, and is a banned person with a firearm. Prosecutors say Ayala-Flores is a gunshot for the gang that led the Los Angeles MS-13 program, a leadership group that is trying to unify MS-13 decision-making in the United States.
– Alvaro Ernesto Perez "Toro" Carias, 50, of Los Angeles, is charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and distribute a controlled substance. Perez Carias is also a suspected gunman and founding member of the Hollywood Locos clique. Due to supply problems resulting from 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 assigned a conspiracy number to distribute a controlled substance and a controlled substance.
– Miguel Angel "Flaco" Nieto-Romero, 26, of Los Angeles, is charged with a conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and three distribution counts of a controlled substance.
– Jose Gerardo Cortez-Diaz, also known as Christian Axel Lopez-Cortez and as Chiquilin, 20, from Los Angeles, is charged with a conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and a number to distribute a controlled substance.
– Carlos "Troso" Lopez-Guzman, 41, of Los Angeles, is charged with a conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and three numbers to distribute a controlled substance. and
– Pedro Ernesto "Cuba" Montalvo, 35, of Hawthorne, accused of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and distribute a controlled substance.