COLUMBUS, Ohio – Thirteen individuals alleged to be members and associates of MS-13 were arrested in Central Ohio and Indiana this morning.
A federal grand jury charged 10 individuals with conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence in an indictment returned here on July 27. Five other individuals were arrested and charged in criminal complaints with federal immigration-related crimes. Two of the 15 remain fugitives.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Rebecca Adducci, Detroit Field Office Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations, Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin and Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs announced the indictment that was unsealed following the arrests today.
MS-13, formally La Mara Salvatrucha, is a multi-national criminal organization composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The organization’s leadership is based in El Salvador, where many of the gang’s high-ranking members are imprisoned.
In 2012, the United States government designated MS-13 as a “transnational criminal organization.” It is the first and only street gang to receive that designation. MS-13 has become one of the largest and most violent criminal organizations in the United States, with more than 10,000 members and associates operating in at least 40 states, including Ohio. In Ohio and elsewhere in the United States, MS-13 is organized into “cliques,” which are smaller groups of MS-13 members and associates acting under the larger mantle of the organization and operating in a specific region, city or part of a city.
- indictment alleges that 10 defendants – members and associates of the Columbus clique of MS-13 – conspired to commit extortion through the use of threatened or actual force, violence or fear to intimidate their victims into paying money to the defendants and their co-conspirators. Many of the proceeds were sent, usually by wire transfer and often through intermediaries, to MS-13 members and associates in El Salvador and elsewhere. The money was then used to promote and facilitate the criminal activities of MS-13 in El Salvador and the United States.
As part of the alleged conspiracy, the defendants and their co-conspirators unlawfully obtained extortion proceeds to be used to, among other things, buy items that MS-13 uses to engage in criminal activity, such as cellular phones, narcotics and weapons; provide financial support and information to MS-13 members, including those incarcerated in El Salvador and the United States, as well as those who have been deported; and aid families of deceased MS-13 members.
The 10 defendants charged in the indictment are:
Also Known As
Jose Martin Neftali Aguilar-Rivera
Columbus, Ohio/ Indianapolis, Ind.
Pedro Alfonso Osorio-Flores
Juan Jose Jiminez-Montufar
*Jose Manuel Romero-Parada
Fugitive – Indianapolis, Ind.
Jose Ramiro Aparicio-Olivares
*Nelson Alexander Flores
Fugitive – whereabouts unknown
Conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to commit money laundering are each crimes punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence carries a sentence of at least seven years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed in the case.
The five defendants charged with immigration offenses in criminal complaints are:
Also Known As
Juan Pablo Flores-Castro
Jorge Alberto Landaverde
Juan Jose Alvarenga-Alberto
Illegally re-entering the United States after having been previously deported is a crime punishable by up to two years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI, ICE, Columbus, Police and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, and the assistance of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), as well as Assistant United States Attorneys Brian J. Martinez and Jessica H. Kim, who are prosecuting the case.
If you are a victim of the alleged crimes, or have additional information about MS-13, please call the FBI hotline at 614-849-1765. Callers can remain anonymous.
An indictment or criminal complaint merely contains allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
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Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Southern District of Ohio