Two members of La Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) were sentenced to life in prison for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering.
According to court documents, Luis Flores-Reyes, aka Maloso, aka Lobo, 41, of Arlington, Virginia, and Jairo Jacome, aka Abuelo, 40, of Langley Park, Maryland, were members of MS-13, an international criminal organization and one of the largest street gangs in the United States. MS-13 is organized into a series of sub-units or “cliques” that operate in specific geographic locations. Flores-Reyes was a leader within the powerful Sailors Clique, which held territory in Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and El Salvador. Jacome was the highest-ranking member in a local clique called Langley Park Salvatruchas (LPS). Together, the two MS-13 cliques, including Flores-Reyes and Jacome, ran a protection scheme in and around Langley Park, extorting local businesses by charging them “rent” for the privilege of operating in MS-13 “territory.” The gang also trafficked in illegal drugs, including heroin, marijuana, and cocaine. A large share of the proceeds of the gang’s illegal activities were sent to gang leadership in El Salvador to further promote the gang’s illicit activities, using structured transactions and intermediaries to avoid law enforcement scrutiny.
Flores-Reyes and Jacome participated in at least four murders during the period of the conspiracy, mostly of victims they believed to be gang rivals.
Among the most important rules of MS-13 is the prohibition against talking to law enforcement, embodied by the maxim ver, oir, y callar – see, hear, and say nothing. The gang enforced this rule by placing a “green light” – an order to kill – on any member of MS-13 who was thought to be informing on the gang. On December 4, 2016, Jacome directed and participated in taking a 14 year-old boy from Langley Park to a wooded area outside Germantown, Maryland, and murdering him by repeated blows with a machete because Jacome suspected that the victim had provided information to the police about the gang. Jacome fled the murder scene in fear of being discovered by police but returned the next morning to bury the body. The victim was a missing person until his skeletal remains were recovered by law enforcement on June 6, 2018.
In March 2017, a member of the Sailors Clique, who in an effort to hide from law enforcement was living in the Lynchburg, Virginia-area, had a dispute with a local high school student over marijuana. In response, Flores-Reyes authorized that a squad of MS-13 members drive to Lynchburg and murder the high school student. The gang members kidnapped the student from his front lawn and cut his hand off before killing him. After the murder, Flores-Reyes helped to hide and protect the killers from law enforcement.
In September 2022, Flores-Reyes, Jacome, and a third MS-13 member, Brayan Contreras-Avalos, were each convicted of racketeering conspiracy. Flores-Reyes and Jacome were additionally convicted of murder in aid of racketeering and extortion conspiracy, and Flores-Reyes and Contreras-Avalos were convicted of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. Contreras-Avalos was sentenced to life in prison on Jan. 13.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron for the District of Maryland made the announcement.
The FBI Washington Field Office, HSI Baltimore, DEA New York Field Division, DEA Baltimore District Office, Prince George’s County Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department, Virginia State Police, Lynchburg Police Department, Prince William County Police Department, and Bedford County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. The Nassau County District Attorney’s Office also provided valuable assistance.
Trial Attorney Alexander Gottfried of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy Hagan and Christopher Sarma for the District of Maryland prosecuted the case.