Seems like the feds are getting a little more serious about the violent gang Mara Salvatrucha, better known as MS-13. They succeeding in convicting two members of the gang, Edgar Alberto “Pony” Ayala, 29, leader of an MS-13 clique and Oscar Ramos “Casper” Velasquez, 21 Friday. Both were from El Salvador.
They were found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder to further the racketeering enterprise and will be sentenced February 23, 2007. Ayala and Velasquez may have been a part of this sweep in May 2005 that picked up 103 MS-13 members and were indicted along with 17 others in August 2005.
The jury's decision, reached during five days of deliberations, means that both men are eligible for a maximum possible sentence of life in prison without parole.
... The RICO indictment alleges that members of MS-13, a gang also known as Mara Salvatrucha, killed six people and attempted to kill four others between April 2003 and June 2005 in Prince George's and Montgomery counties.
... federal prosecutors presented evidence that Ayala participated in the fatal shooting of a Fairfax County teenager.
Ayala and Velasquez showed no emotion as the guilty verdicts were read
The article also breaks down how the gang works. Basically sending "remittances" back to El Salvadorian gang leaders.
Federal prosecutors presented evidence that MS-13, made up primarily of immigrants from El Salvador and other Latin American countries, is not just a typical street gang but an international criminal conspiracy.
For example, members in Maryland receive directions from MS-13 leaders in El Salvador, local MS-13 gang members pay dues at meetings, and some of that money is sent to gang leaders in El Salvador, according to government witnesses.
With this successful prosecution under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act it sets a precedent for future prosecution of these vicious gang members who have been terrorizing communities.
17 other members await RICO trials.