BALTIMORE – An investigation headed by the Homeland Safety Investigations (HSI) Baltimore Subject Workplace resulted in a life sentence for a infamous gang member for a racketeering conspiracy involving two murders. On Could 13, Milton Portillo Rodriguez, a/okay/a “Little Gangster,” a/okay/a “Seco,” age 26, was sentenced to serve life in federal jail for a racketeering conspiracy, racketeering, tried homicide, assault with a harmful weapon, conspiracy to commit homicide in support of racketeering, in addition to associated violent crimes in support of racketeering, together with three murders, related to his participation in La Mara Salvatrucha, a transnational felony enterprise often known as MS-13.
After a three-month trial, a federal jury convicted Portillo Rodriguez, together with co-defendants Jose Joya Parada, a/okay/a “Calmado,” age 21; Oscar Armando Sorto Romero, a/okay/a “Lobo,” age 23; and Juan Carlos Sandoval-Rodriguez, a/okay/a “Picaro,” age 24, on January 24. Portillo-Rodriguez and Sandoval-Rodriguez had been additionally convicted of a number of counts of homicide in support of racketeering.
The investigation established that between 2015 and 2017, Portillo Rodriguez and his co-defendants engaged in a sample of racketeering, drug trafficking, extortion, homicide, and brutal acts of violence in opposition to suspected rivals of the gang in an effort to extend MS-13’s energy within the Frederick County, Montgomery County, and Anne Arundel County areas of Maryland.
The investigation was led by HSI Baltimore with cooperation from the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace for the District of Maryland, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Baltimore Subject Workplace, the Frederick Metropolis Police Division, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Workplace, the Frederick County State’s Legal professional’s Workplace, the Anne Arundel County Police Division, the Anne Arundel County State’s Legal professional’s Workplace, the Prince George’s County Police Division, the Prince George’s County State’s Legal professional’s Workplace, the Montgomery County Police Division, and the Montgomery County State’s Legal professional’s Workplace.
MS-13 is a nationwide and worldwide gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador and different central American international locations. Branches or “cliques” of MS-13, one of many largest road gangs in america, function all through Frederick County, Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County, Maryland. Portillo Rodriguez, Sandoval Rodriguez, and Joya Parada had been members of the Fulton Locos Salvatruchas (“FLS”) clique. Co-defendant Oscar Sorto Romero was a part of the Parque Vista Locos Salvatruchas (“PVLS”) clique.
The investigation revealed that from 2015 by 2017, the Fulton clique of MS-13 sought to extend its presence in Frederick, Wheaton, and Annapolis, Maryland by quite a few acts of violence, extortion, and drug gross sales. Trial proof targeted on the defendants’ participation in no less than 4 grisly murders of these suspected of affiliation with rival gang members carried out in 2017.
“Portillo Rodriguez’ crimes had been notably appalling,” mentioned performing Particular Agent in Cost Selwyn Smith of HSI Baltimore. “The brutality of his actions was mirrored within the severity of his jail sentence. Right now he’ll start to face the results for his lifetime of crime. HSI Baltimore is proud to have labored with our federal, state, and native legislation enforcement companions to deliver Portillo Rodriguez to justice. HSI Baltimore will proceed to work to guard the law-abiding residents of Maryland from infamous felony parts like MS-13.”
The HSI Baltimore-led investigation into Portillo Rodriguez targeted on his participation in a number of murders together with the homicide of a 17-year-old sufferer in March 2017. Throughout this homicide, Portillo Rodriguez, Sandoval Rodriguez, Joya Parada, and different gang members lured Sufferer 1 to an Annapolis, Maryland park the place they stabbed Sufferer 1 to loss of life and subsequently dismembered him. After murdering Sufferer 1 and eradicating the sufferer’s coronary heart, the defendants buried the physique, disposed of the proof, and smoked marijuana to have fun the homicide. On account of their participation within the homicide of Sufferer 1, sure gang members had been promoted inside MS-13.
In June 2017, Portillo Rodriguez participated within the homicide of Sufferer 2, a feminine sufferer that MS-13 members believed to have been related to a rival gang. Portillo Rodriguez aided within the planning of the homicide and helped lure Sufferer 2 right into a automotive with one other MS-13 member and a feminine affiliate. Sufferer 2 believed she was assembly the feminine affiliate for a date. After Sufferer 2 entered the automobile, one other MS-13 member stopped the automotive and allowed Portillo Rodiguez and one other MS-13 gang member to enter on each side of the automobile to lure Sufferer 2 within the center. Portillo Rodriguez and others then compelled Sufferer 2 onto the backseat ground at knifepoint. Ultimately, the MS-13 members took Sufferer 2 to a wooded space in Crownsville, Maryland the place MS-13 members triggered Sufferer 2 to lose consciousness, eliminated Sufferer 2’s clothes, and decapitated Sufferer 2 with a machete. Portillo Rodriguez and Sandoval Rodriguez participated within the homicide by stabbing and slashing the sufferer’s physique with a machete, dismembering the physique, and burying the physique in a wooded space. On account of their participation within the homicide of Sufferer 2, Portillo Rodriguez, Sandoval Rodriguez, and different gang members had been promoted inside MS-13.
Moreover, in August 2017, Portillo Rodriguez and Sorto Romero participated within the planning and homicide of Sufferer 3 at an Annapolis, Maryland park. After Sufferer 3 was lured to the park, Sufferer 3 was hit on the pinnacle with a hammer and slashed with a machete till he died. The proof offered at trial revealed that the sufferer was a low-level member of MS-13 suspected of warning one in all his relations, who was believed to be a member of a rival gang, that he was an MS-13 goal.
Always of this conspiracy, members of MS-13 had been anticipated to guard the identify, fame, and standing of the gang from rival gang members and different individuals. To guard the gang and to boost its fame, MS-13 members had been anticipated to make use of any means essential to drive respect from those that confirmed disrespect, together with acts of intimidation and violence. MS-13 had mottos according to its guidelines, beliefs, expectations and fame together with “mata, viola, controla,” which interprets as, “kill, rape, management,” and “ver, oir y callar,” which suggests, “see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing.” One of many principal guidelines of MS-13 is that its members should assault and kill rivals, sometimes called “chavalas,” every time attainable.
MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence each to take care of membership and self-discipline throughout the gang, in addition to in opposition to rival gang members. Participation in felony exercise by a member, notably in violent acts directed at rival gangs or as directed by gang management, enhance the respect accorded to that member, leading to that member sustaining or rising his place within the gang, and opens the door to promotion to a management place.
Greater than 30 MS-13 gang members and associates have been convicted on this and a associated case.
On April 20, Jose Joya Parada, a/okay/a “Calmado,” age 20, was sentenced to 50 years in federal jail, for a racketeering conspiracy, racketeering, and associated violent crimes in support of racketeering. Oscar Sorto Romero was sentenced to life in federal jail, on Could 6, for a racketeering conspiracy and for racketeering, in addition to associated violent crimes in support of racketeering, together with two murders. Sandoval Rodriguez faces a compulsory sentence of life in jail and is scheduled to be sentenced on Could 25 at 3:30 p.m.
This case is a part of Mission Protected Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing collectively all ranges of legislation enforcement and the communities they serve to cut back violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everybody. PSN is an evidence-based program confirmed to be efficient at decreasing violent crime. By way of PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work collectively to determine essentially the most urgent violent crime issues locally and develop complete options to deal with them. As a part of this technique, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on essentially the most violent offenders and companions with regionally primarily based prevention and reentry packages for lasting reductions in crime.
This case is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Process Power (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level felony organizations that threaten america utilizing a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency method that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and native legislation enforcement businesses in opposition to felony networks.
Anybody with details about MS-13 is inspired to offer their tricks to Homeland Safety Investigations. Homeland Safety Investigations has nationwide tipline you could name to report what you realize. You may attain HSI at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.