Silver Spring MS-13 Gang Member Sentenced to 24 Years for Racketeering Conspiracy, Including Murder

29-year-old El Salvadoran national Jose Lainez Martinez of Silver Spring was sentenced to 24 years in federal prison this week after pleading guilty to his involvement in a racketeering conspiracy, including a murder, related to his activities as part of the MS-13 gang.

On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron, Acting Special Agent in Charge R. Joseph Rothrock of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office, Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris of Homeland Security Investigations Baltimore, Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones, and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy announced the sentencing imposed by Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar.

According to a press release, court documents reveal that La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as “MS-13,” is an international criminal organization composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, with members operating in Maryland, including Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Frederick County, and throughout the United States. In Maryland and elsewhere, MS-13 members are organized in “cliques,” smaller groups that operate in a specific city or region. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence to maintain membership and discipline within the gang and against rival gangs. One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, known as “chavalas,” whenever possible. Participation in criminal activity by a member, particularly in violent acts directed at rival gangs or as directed by gang leadership, increases the respect accorded to that member, resulting in maintaining or improving their position in the gang and opening the door to promotion to a leadership position.

As detailed in the plea agreement, from at least January 2020, Lainez Martinez was a member or associate of the MS-13 Fulton Locos Salvatruchas (“FLS“) clique and agreed with members of MS-13 to conduct and participate in the gang’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity that included murder, conspiracy to commit murder, extortion, and drug distribution. Lainez Martinez admitted that to assist the gang in raising money, he participated in the sale of marijuana and the collection of extortion money from brothels and other businesses, providing the proceeds to gang leadership.

In the Spring of 2020, an MS-13 member, who was a former roommate of Victim 20, was assaulted by Victim 20 and others because they believed the MS-13 member had stolen property from Victim 20. After being told of the assault, MS-13 members indicated that the gang would have to retaliate against Victim 20 to maintain its standing. MS-13 gang members also believed that Victim 20 was associated with the rival 18th Street gang, which was another sufficient reason to kill him.

According to the plea agreement, on the night of May 25, 2020, Lainez Martinez and other MS-13 gang members gathered in a park in Silver Spring. During that meeting, participants discussed the plan to murder Victim 20, which was scheduled to happen on the morning of May 26, 2020.

As detailed in court documents, on May 26, 2020, at approximately 7:05 a.m., two FLS MS-13 gang members approached Victim 20 as he left his apartment in Silver Spring and fired handguns at him repeatedly, hitting him eight times and killing him.

Following the murder, Lainez Martinez and co-defendant Oscar Efrain Zavala Urrea traveled to Annapolis, where they met a third MS-13 gang member. Lainez Martinez and Zavala Urrea changed and disposed of the old clothing. They gave the third gang member a backpack containing two firearms for safekeeping. A few days later, Maryland State Police stopped the third gang member who had the backpack containing the two firearms.

Lainez Martinez was additionally ordered to serve five years of supervised release following the completion of his 24-year incarceration sentence. Oscar Efrain Zavala Urrea, who was also involved in the same conspiracy, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison by Chief Judge Bredar last week.

Anyone with information about MS-13 is encouraged to provide tips to the FBI at (866) 787-6713.

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