MS-13 Member Indicted for RICO Conspiracy

An alleged member of the transnational criminal gang MS-13, or La Mara Salvatrucha, was arrested yesterday and charged in federal court in Boston with RICO conspiracy.

Manuel Adan Yanez Cruz, a/k/a “Rocky” or “Flaco,” 19, a Salvadoran national who had been residing in East Boston, was charged in an indictment unsealed yesterday with conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, commonly referred to as racketeering or RICO conspiracy. Yanez Cruz was in immigration custody at the time of his federal criminal arrest. Yanez Cruz was detained following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston yesterday.

As alleged in the indictment, MS-13 is a violent street gang with members in Massachusetts and across the United States. Members of MS-13 and their associates commit and conspire to commit acts of violence to enhance the gang’s prestige, control and expand the gang’s territory, keep others in fear of the gang, and ensure compliance with the gang’s rules. Until at least October 2018, Yanez Cruz allegedly conspired with other MS-13 members and associates to engage in criminal activity to support the criminal organization.

More than 50 MS-13 members and associates in Massachusetts have been convicted of multiple acts of violence, including murder, attempted murder, robbery, and assault, as well as other criminal activity, including narcotics trafficking, firearms possession, witness tampering, and witness retaliation.

The charge of RICO conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The defendant also faces deportation upon completion of any sentence imposed. Sentences are imposed by a federal District Court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Jason Molina, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Boston Police Commissioner William Gross; Chelsea Police Chief Brian A. Kyes; Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary; and Revere Police Chief James Guido made the announcement today. The details contained in the indictment are allegations and the defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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