Wed, Aug 4, 2021 9:31 PM
By KEN RITTER, AP
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Four accused members of the violent MS-13 gang have been indicted in Las Vegas on racketeering conspiracy charges stemming from 10 killings and abductions that police and the FBI identified in 2018, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou issued a statement crediting the filing of multiple charges against Luis Reynaldo Reyes-Castillo, David Arturo Perez-Manchame, Joel Vargas-Escobar and Alexander De Jesus Figueroa-Torres with “significantly undermining” the ability of the El Salvador-based gang to engage in violence in Las Vegas.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite called the violence alleged in the case “truly shocking.”
The statement said crimes occurred from March 2017 to March 2018, attributed one non-fatal shooting in February 2018 to the defendants, and said five slain victims were also kidnapped.
The indictment, filed Wednesday, updated a previous murder-racketeering and weapons case filed against the four men in April 2019, said Trisha Young, the U.S. attorney's office spokeswoman in Las Vegas.
The names the 10 victims in the 55-page indictment match a list that Las Vegas police provided in March 2018, when Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo held a news conference to say 10 slaying cases had been solved with the arrests of four adults and a teenager. The names of the suspects were not made public at that time.
Kidnapping and murder in aid of racketeering are among the 38 counts in the indictment that alleges a conspiracy with ties to Los Angeles and the central California town of Mendota.
It alleges the criminal enterprise was involved in the theft of jewelry, cash, firearms and other valuables from multiple homes; identity theft and fraud; transporting guns and weapons across state lines; and illegal distribution of marijuana and methamphetamine.
Reyes-Castillo, 27, Perez-Manchame, 22, were scheduled for court appearances Tuesday. Vargas-Escobar, 25, and Figueroa-Torres, 25, were sought as fugitives, Young said.
Defense attorneys representing Reyes-Castillo and Perez-Menchame did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press. Records did not say Vargas-Escobar and Figueroa-Torres had attorneys.
Across the country, federal authorities have brought multiple racketeering conspiracy charges against MS-13 members in recent years, including the sentencing last month of the last of 23 members of a gang group or “clique” based in Columbus, Ohio.
Authorities in Tennessee recently announced that nine MS-13 members face charges in a case involving killings, kidnappings, assaults, robberies and drug distribution in and around Nashville. An MS-13 member in Maryland was sentenced July 20 to 30 years in federal prison for his role in the mutilation killing and burning of a 16-year-old boy.
Authorities have also prosecuted MS-13 members for a series of killings on Long Island, New York.
The Las Vegas case identified the four defendants as members of the Parkview clique and said the FBI and Las Vegas police investigated.