Seven MS-13 Gang Members Indicted Here

The U.S. Attorney's Office announced the unsealing of indictments for racketeering and murder against seven members of the notorious MS-13 gang, who have been arrested.

The USAO says MS-13 is:

a criminal organization in Houston that functioned as a unit engaged in murder, attempted murder, drug trafficking, robbery, extortion and conspiracy to further the objectives of the gang. Those objectives included preserving, protecting, promoting and enhancing the power, territory and reputation of the gang - the enterprise - through the use of intimidation, violence, threats of violence, assaults and murder and keeping victims and community members in fear of the gang as well as providing financial support and information to MS-13 members including those incarcerated in the United States and elsewhere.

"Gang activities reach out from far beyond the neighborhoods in which they are ongoing and into the communities in which we live," U.S. Attorney Jose Angel Moreno said. "But the long arm of the law has now reached far beyond the borders of our district to bring these defendants to justice. These charges represent the continuing cooperative law enforcement efforts in this district to combat violent gang activity."

The men indicted:

Hector Ovidio Molina Fuentes, aka Hector Ovidio Madrid and Negro, 33 Jose Gabriel Garcia Calderon, aka Lunatico, 19 Ernesto Manuel Mejia, aka Sleepy, 18 Samuel DeJesus Argueta, aka Chucky, 21 Ronald Alexander Gomez, aka Topolliyo and Keeper, 19 Jaime Eduardo Lopez Torres, aka Pinguino, 29 Carlos Contreras, aka Pupusa, 21

(Winner of the Best Nickname contest: Lunatico, with Sleepy a close second.)

The indictments say the men played a role in the murders of "Saul Garduno, 15, Jonathan Hernandez, 24, and Anayanci Roche, 17, on March 14, May 5, and June 1, 2011, respectively."

Fuentes and Calderon, the USAO says, were the "shot callers," or the leaders of the specific "clique." The others were members of that clique.

The announcement also included a brief history of the gang:

The MS-13 gang had its origins in the 1980s in the United States and is a national and international criminal organization whose members conduct gang activities in the United States and Central America.

According to the indictment, the word "Mara" is the term used in El Salvador for gang, while the phrase "Salvatrucha" is a combination of the words "Salva" - an abbreviation for Salvadoran - and "trucha," which is a slang term for the warning "fear us," "look out" or "heads up." Male gang members are required to complete an initiation process, often referred to as "jumped in" where the new member is beaten by other members until the count of 13. Female gang members are initiated by either being "jumped in" or submitting to sexual activity with gang members.

MS-13 gang members often display their membership through tattoos reading "MS" or "MS-13" in gothic lettering and/or by wearing the gang's colors -- blue and white -- or clothing bearing the number "13" or numbers when added together total 13. MS-13 members pay dues which are used for the benefit of and provided to MS-13 members who are imprisoned in the United States, El Salvador and Panama as well as to buy firearms to be used to conduct the enterprise's illegal activities.

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