Trenton, NJ Man Among, 23 MS-13 Members and Associates Indicted for Murders and Other Acts of Violence

Superseding Indictment Adds Charges Against Members and Associates of the Fulton Locos Salvatruchas Clique of MS-13, Including National Gang Leader Edenilson Velasquez Larin

Oscar Hernandez Baires (also known as “Pinky,” “Duende,” “Roco,” and “Renuente”) Age: 23 Trenton, New Jersey

June 22, 2023

A 48-count, superseding indictment was unsealed yesterda in federal court in Brooklyn charging 23 alleged members and associates of the violent transnational criminal organization La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the “MS-13,” with racketeering conspiracy and related offenses, including multiple murders and other acts of violence, drug distribution conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy.  The superseding indictment adds charges against defendant Edenilson Velasquez Larin, also known as “Agresor,” “Saturno,” and “Paco,” who is allegedly a national leader of the MS-13 and the Fulton Locos Salvatruchas (Fulton) clique, for his leadership role in allegedly ordering murders, drug distribution, and money laundering for the MS-13. 

The superseding indictment also adds charges against defendants Christian Alas Leon, Carlos Alvarado, Jose Arevalo Iraheta, Jose Espinoza Sanchez, Erick Galdamez Leon, Blanca Garcia, Jose Guevara Aguilar, Oscar Hernandez Baires, Keila Hernandez May, Jose Mejia Hernandez, and Erick Zavala Hernandez—all of whom are alleged members or associates of the Fulton clique.  Finally, the superseding indictment adds charges against Leyla Carranza for her alleged participation in the murder of Andy Peralta on April 23, 2018.  The superseding indictment also includes charges against defendants Oscar Flores-Mejia, Ramiro Gutierrez, Yonathan Hernandez, Victor Lopez, Tito Martinez-Alvarenga, Emerson Martinez-Lara, Tylor Salmeron and Ismael Santos-Novoa, all of whom were previously indicted and arrested.

Alas Leon, Carlos Alvarado, Arevalo Iraheta, Galdamez Leon, Guevara Aguilar, Mejia Hernandez, and Zavala Hernandez were arrested earlier this morning in New York, and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn.  Hernandez Baires was arrested in New Jersey and will have his initial appearance in Brooklyn.  Carranza was arrested in Virginia and will have her initial appearance in the Eastern District of Virginia.  Garcia was arrested in Colorado and will have her initial appearance in the District of Colorado.  Espinoza Sanchez and Hernandez May were arrested in North Carolina and will have their initial appearances in the Middle District of North Carolina.  Velasquez Larin is in immigration custody in Ohio and will have his initial appearance in the Northern District of Ohio at a later date.  The remaining defendants are already in federal custody and will be arraigned on the superseding indictment at a later date.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York, and Keechant L. Sewell, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the arrests and charges.

“The murders and other crimes of violence allegedly committed by these defendants were brutal, cold-blooded, and utterly senseless,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “This Office and our law enforcement partners are working tirelessly to dismantle the MS-13 at all of its levels, and we will not relent until this transnational criminal organization, its leaders, members, and associates are held accountable for the extreme violence and other criminal activity that they have perpetrated in our communities.”

Mr. Peace also thanked the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, Queens County District Attorney’s Office, Nassau County Police Department, and the United States Attorney Offices for the Northern District of Ohio, District of New Jersey, District of Colorado, and Middle District of North Carolina for their valuable coordination with the investigation.

“The defendants charged are alleged to have participated in heinous gang violence and criminal behavior that brought fear and terror to our communities.  The indictments today mark another success in our fight against the continued threat posed by MS-13.  The FBI Long Island Gang Task Force and our law enforcement partners are determined to eliminate the scourge of violence and criminal behavior brought by MS-13,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.

“Transnational gangs, like MS-13, threaten our national security and the safety of our neighborhoods by ravaging our communities with violent crime and narcotics,” stated HSI New York Special Agent-in-Charge Arvelo.  “The individuals charged today are alleged to have committed numerous acts of senseless violence in the name of loyalty to their gang and now, thanks to the diligent investigative work of HSI New York and our partners at the FBI and NYPD, they will face federal prosecution for their crimes. This coordinated multi-agency law enforcement effort is the best means of disrupting MS-13’s illicit gang activity and undermining its ability to reign terror and violence in New York communities and elsewhere.”

“Today’s charges again show that NYPD investigators, in close collaboration with our law enforcement partners, are relentless in seeking justice against gangs – no matter when or where their brutal violence is carried out,” stated NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “I thank and commend Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI’s New York Field Office, and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York for their vital work on this important case.”

Murder of Andy Peralta

Alleged MS-13 associates Juan Amaya-Ramirez and Oscar Flores-Mejia were previously charged with the murder of 17-year-old Andy Peralta in Kissena Park in Flushing, Queens on April 23, 2018.  The superseding indictment adds murder charges against Leyla Carranza, who allegedly lured Peralta to the park so that he could be murdered.  As detailed in court filings, the assailants fatally beat, stabbed and strangled Peralta.  Peralta’s killers photographed themselves posing over Peralta’s corpse while they displayed MS-13 gang signs with their hands.  The photo was found in Amaya-Ramirez’s iCloud account during a court-authorized search of the account.

Murder of Victor Alvarenga

In the early morning hours of November 4, 2018, MS-13 members shot and killed Victor Alvarenga near his home in Flushing, Queens.  Alleged MS-13 member Ramiro Gutierrez and others were previously charged for their roles in the murder.  The superseding indictment adds charges against alleged MS-13 members Edenilson Velasquez Larin, Jose Espinoza Sanchez, and Tito Martinez-Alvarenga.  As alleged, as a national leader for the MS-13 and a leader of the Fulton clique, Edenilson Velasquez Larin gave the order to kill Alvarenga, and the murder was overseen by Espinoza Sanchez.

Murder of Abel Mosso

Alleged MS-13 members Ramiro Gutierrez, Tito Martinez-Alvarenga and Victor Lopez were previously charged with the murder of Abel Mosso on a subway platform in Queens.  The superseding indictment charges Emerson Martinez-Lara and Ismael Santos-Novoa for their alleged roles as lookouts during the murder.  As alleged, in the early afternoon of February 3, 2019, Lopez and Martinez-Alvarenga followed Mosso, who they believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street gang, onto the No. 7-train at the Main Street station in Flushing, trailed by Gutierrez.  Lopez and Martinez-Alvarenga assaulted Mosso inside the subway car and then dragged him out onto the platform at the 90th Street station in Jackson Heights.  The defendants pulled out a gun, but Mosso wrestled it away.  Gutierrez shouted in Spanish, “Nobody get involved, we’re MS-13, we’re going to kill him.”  Gutierrez then grabbed the gun from Mosso and allegedly shot him multiple times, killing him.

Murder of Eric Monge

The superseding indictment adds charges for the murder of Eric Monge on September 6, 2020.  Alleged MS-13 member Oscar Hernandez Baires is charged with murdering Eric Monge, a fellow member of MS-13 who had previously assaulted Hernandez Baires.  As alleged, in the early morning hours of September 6, 2020, Hernandez Baires and another individual shot and killed Monge while he was seated in a parked car near his home in Queens.  Monge’s wife had just taken their young children into their residence and returned to the car to find parking when Hernandez Baires and the other individual opened fire.

Conspiracy to Murder Rival Gang Members

Beginning in late 2019, alleged MS-13 member Jose Espinoza Sanchez, who was a leader of the gang’s Fulton clique, learned that members of the rival 18th Street gang were increasing their presence in Elmont, New York, which is part of Fulton’s territory.  As leaders of the Fulton clique, Edenilson Velasquez Larin and Espinoza Sanchez allegedly ordered other MS-13 members, including alleged MS-13 members Jose Arevalo Iraheta, Oscar Hernandez Baires, and Erick Zavala Hernandez, to scour the Elmont neighborhood in search of 18th Street members to kill.  In the spring of 2020, Velasquez Larin allegedly arranged for Fulton members from Maryland to travel to New York to help Fulton members from New York find rival gang members in Elmont.  Alleged MS-13 member Jose Arevalo Iraheta and a Fulton member from Maryland ultimately found an individual they believed to be an 18th Street member and shot at him.

Attempted Murders in Summer 2021

On the evening of July 29, 2021, in Westbury, alleged MS-13 member Christian Alas Leon and others chased a member of the rival Latin Kings gang with machetes.  Alas Leon and another individual slashed the individual multiple times in his back and head with machetes before the victim managed to escape.

As retaliation for the machete attack, a different Latin Kings member stabbed an MS-13 member in the chest.  In response to that stabbing, members of the Fulton clique met at a public park in Hicksville and agreed to exact revenge by killing a Latin Kings member.  Velasquez Larin, the leader of the clique, participated in the meeting by telephone and allegedly gave the order to kill.  Shortly after the meeting in the park, on the evening of August 2, 2021, in Westbury, New York, alleged MS-13 member Galdamez Leon shot at a suspected Latin Kings member multiple times, and the victim sustained a gunshot wound to the ankle. 

Approximately one month later, on September 15, 2021, alleged MS-13 members Carlos Alvarado, Tylor Salmeron, and other individuals participated in the attempted murder of a different Latin Kings member who had provoked the MS-13 by posting on social media a mocking video of himself walking in Fulton territory in Westbury.  Alvarado and another individual shot the victim in the face.

Drug Distribution and Money Laundering

Edenilson Velasquez Larin, Christian Alas Leon, Carlos Alvarado, Jose Arevalo Iraheta, Jose Espinoza Sanchez, Erick Galdamez Leon, Jose Guevara Aguilar, Oscar Hernandez Baires, Jose Mejia Hernandez, Tylor Salmeron and Erick Zavala Hernandez are also charged with selling cocaine and marijuana to earn money for MS-13.  In addition, Velasquez Larin, Alas Leon, Alvarado, Espinoza Sanchez, Galdamez Leon, Blanca Garcia, Hernandez Baires, Keila Hernandez May, Mejia Hernandez and Zavala Hernandez are charged with money laundering in connection with the flow of tens of thousands of dollars from alleged MS-13 members to MS-13 leader Velasquez Larin.

The charges in the superseding indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was investigated as part of the ongoing efforts by the OCDETF, a partnership that brings together the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

Today’s charges are the latest in a series of federal prosecutions by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York targeting members of the MS-13.  Since 2003, hundreds of MS-13 members, including dozens of clique leaders, have been convicted on federal felony charges in the Eastern District of New York.  A majority of those MS-13 members have been convicted on federal racketeering charges for participating in murders, attempted murders and assaults.  Since 2009, this Office has obtained indictments charging MS-13 members with carrying out more than 65 murders in the district and has convicted dozens of MS-13 leaders and members in connection with those murders.  These prosecutions are the product of investigations led by our law enforcement partners.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan Siegel, Michael W. Gibaldi, and Anna Karamigios are in charge of the prosecution, with the assistance of Paralegal Specialist Emily Moosher.

New Defendants:

Edenilson Velasquez Larin (also known as “Agresor,” “Saturno,” and “Paco”)
Age: 33
Thornton, Colorado

Christian Alas Leon (also known as “Pata de Chucho”)
Age: 24
Westbury, New York

Carlos Alvarado (also known as “Brayle” and “Danny”)
Age: 19
Westbury, New York

Jose Arevalo Iraheta (also known as “Splinter” and “Daniel”)
Age: 26 
Queens, New York

Erick Galdamez Leon (also known as “Truco,” “Burro,” and “Chicle”)
Age: 23
Westbury, New York

Blanca Garcia (also known as “Lisbeth”)
Age: 31
Thornton, Colorado

Jose Guevara Aguilar (also known as “Tranquilo,” “Malhechor,” and “Angel”)
Age: 24
Queens, New York

Oscar Hernandez Baires (also known as “Pinky,” “Duende,” “Roco,” and “Renuente”)
Age: 23
Trenton, New Jersey

Keila Hernandez May
Age: 35
Carrboro, North Carolina

Yonathan Hernandez
Age: 24
Hempstead, New York

Leyla Carranza
Age: 22
Richmond, Virginia

Jose Mejia Hernandez (also known as “Mismo” and “Timbre”)
Age: 21
Westbury, New York

Jose Espinoza Sanchez (also known as “Cable,” “Bleca,” “Clave,” and “Victor”)
Age: 24
Carrboro, North Carolina

Tylor Salmeron (also known as “El Duende”)
Age: 20
Westbury, New York

Erick Zavala Hernandez (also known as “Berry,” “Berro,” and “Alex”)
Age: 26
Queens, New York

Defendants Previously Indicted:

Juan Amaya-Ramirez (also known as “Cadaver”)
Age: 25
Fresh Meadows, New York

Oscar Flores-Mejia (also known as “Chamuco”)
Age: 23 
Elmhurst, New York

Ramiro Gutierrez (also known as “Cara de Malo”)
Age: 30
Flushing, New York

Victor Lopez (also known as “Curioso”)
Age: 24
Flushing, New York

Tito Martinez-Alvarenga (also known as “Imprudente”)
Age: 23
Flushing, New York

Emerson Martinez-Lara (also known as “Fugitivo” and “Adonay”)
Age: 24
College Point, New York

Ismael Santos-Novoa (also known as “Profe” and “Travieso”)
Age: 35
Flushing, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 20-CR-228 (S-2) (LDH)