U.S. authorities today announced new arrests and indictments in a case against a Mara Salvatrucha gang, including one of the leaders in the U.S., Edenilson Velasquez Larin, and a score of gang members operating in New York.
Law enforcement agencies arrested twelve new members of the group, also known as MS-13, early this morning, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
The arrests were mostly made in New York and other states, such as New Jersey, Colorado, and North Carolina.
Velasquez, 33, also known as “Agresor,” “Saturno,” and “Paco,” is considered the leader of the Fulton Locos Salvatruchas gang, both locally (in the New York City borough of Queens) and nationally, where the gang operates as the “U.S. Program” or “L.A. Program.
According to a brief filed with the judge, Velasquez is currently in the custody of immigration authorities in Ohio and will be formally detained in the coming days.
- A Brooklyn woman was robbed and assaulted by six individuals in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
- MS-13 member Franklyn Edgardo Sánchez sentenced to 28 years for double murder and money laundering
- Reward of $10,000 offered after torso of unidentified male found floating between Staten Island and Union County
The prosecution alleges that the national gang structure is responsible for, among other things, collecting money for local groups as well as ordering the murder of witnesses or members of rival groups.
In turn, “MS-13 gangs assist each other in committing violent crimes, harboring fugitives, acquiring firearms, distributing narcotics, and other matters,” the indictment states.
The 23 alleged gang members are charged with murder, armed gang membership, drug trafficking, and money laundering.
Velasquez must answer 11 charges, including possession of firearms, distribution of cocaine, and ordering the death of a man who was shot and killed in November 2019.