Thirteen MS-13 Members Charged On Violation Of The “Kingpin” Statute

(Photo by Tim Evanson/Creative Commons)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Thirteen leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 are the subject of a federal indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.

MS-13 is a violent transnational criminal organization also known as Mara Salvatrucha.

The thirteen are charged with violations of the federal “Kingpin” statute and multiple drugs and firearms offenses, including transporting bulk quantities of methamphetamine from Los Angeles, California to Las Vegas, Nevada.

According to the Department of Justice, the indictment was returned under seal on July 8, 2020 by a federal grand jury sitting in Las Vegas. Eleven of the 13 defendants were taken into custody on July 14: four defendants were arrested in the Los Angeles area, and seven defendants were arrested in Las Vegas.

Those arrests were part of a national takedown coordinated between law enforcement agencies in the District of Nevada, Central District of California, Eastern District of New York, and Eastern District of Virginia.

Two other defendants — Juan Angel Reyes (also known as “Angel” and “Mysterio”) and Eder Cruz-Salguero (also known as “Edgar Manolo Ramirez-Salguero” and “Venado”) — are considered fugitives and a warrant remains outstanding for their arrests. Anyone with information as to their whereabouts is asked to contact your local law enforcement office or the Department of Homeland Security by calling 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.

The indictment charges three defendants who were “Homeboys” in the MS-13 Hollywood Locos and Fulton cliques:

Adali Arnulfo Escalante-Trujillo, also known as “Buchaca,” 43, of Las Vegas, is charged with one count of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise (commonly referred to as the “Kingpin” statute), one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, 15 counts of distribution of a controlled substance, and one count of conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license.

As alleged, Escalante-Trujillo was the Las Vegas-based “shot caller” of the Hollywood Locos clique, leading the Las Vegas sector of the gang, which was involved in narcotics and firearms distribution. He bragged about the violent acts committed by MS-13, boasted of connections between MS-13 and the Mexican Mafia, and bragged that MS-13 had come to work with nearly all Mexican Cartels. Reflecting his senior position within MS-13’s hierarchy, Escalante-Trujillo was in direct contact with an MS-13 founding member living in El Salvador.

Escalante-Trujillo brokered nearly every narcotics and firearms trafficking charge alleged in the indictment. Among other things, Escalante-Trujillo hosted MS-13 members from Los Angeles at his Las Vegas home, to enable their transportation of bulk quantities of methamphetamine from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

Jose Alfredo Ayala-Flores, also known as “Blackie,” 39, of Inglewood, California, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, five counts of distribution of a controlled substance, and one count of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

As alleged, in addition to being a “Homeboy,” Ayala-Flores is a “shot caller.” He led the MS-13 “Los Angeles Program,” a leadership group that seeks to unify MS-13 decision-making throughout the United States.

In early 2020, Ayala-Flores and Escalante-Trujillo arranged numerous bulk methamphetamine deals in Las Vegas. Additionally, Ayala-Flores sent bulk pills, laced with fentanyl, through the mail. Ayala-Flores also possessed three rifles (bearing no serial numbers) illegally, due to his prior conviction for attempted murder.

Alvaro Ernesto Perez Carias, also known as “Toro,” 50, of Los Angeles, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and one count of distribution of a controlled substance

As alleged, Perez Carias is a “shot caller” and a founding member of the Hollywood Locos clique. Due to supply issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Perez Carias personally delivered large quantities of methamphetamine from Los Angeles to Las Vegas this year.

Aside from Escalante-Trujillo, Ayala-Flores, and Perez Carias, the remaining ten defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute drugs (between July 2019 and the present) and conducting individual drug deals over the past 12 months. The indictment also charges defendants with illegally possessing and selling silencers, semiautomatic rifles, and semiautomatic handguns:

Sebastian Ocadiz-Castro, 20, of Las Vegas, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, three counts of distribution of a controlled substance, and one count of conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license.

Juan Luis-Rico, also known as “Pelon,” 46, of Las Vegas, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and one count of distribution of a controlled substance.

Juan Angel Reyes, also known as “Angel” and “Mysterio,” 21, of Van Nuys, California, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and one count of distribution of a controlled substance.

Miguel Angel Nieto-Romero, also known as “Flaco,” 26, of Los Angeles, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and three counts of distribution of a controlled substance.

Rosalio Andres Siguenza-Romero, also known as “Tweety,” 40, of Las Vegas, is charged with one count of conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license, one count of dealing in firearms without a license, and one count of possession of an unregistered firearm.

Daniel Enrique Perez-Torres, also known as “Maliente,” 30, of Las Vegas, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and two counts of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

Jose Gerardo Cortez-Diaz, also known as “Christian Axel Lopez-Cortez” and “Chiquilin,” 20, of Los Angeles, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and one count of distribution of a controlled substance.

Eder Cruz-Salguero, also known as “Edgar Manolo Ramirez-Salguero” and “Venado,” 26 (city of residence unknown), is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and one count of distribution of a controlled substance.

Carlos Lopez-Guzman, also known as “Troso,” 41, of Los Angeles, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and three counts of distribution of a controlled substance.

Pedro Ernesto Montalvo, also known as “Cuba,” 35, of Hawthorne, California, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and one count of distribution of a controlled substance.

All defendants except Angel Reyes and Cruz-Salguero are in federal custody and awaiting their respective initial appearances. The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

About Staff Reporter 274 Articles
Huey Freeman, who has recently been serving as executive editor of Arizona Daily Independent, previously worked as a reporter for daily newspapers in Central Illinois. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and has been an adjunct professor at Millikin University and Eastern Illinois University. An author of two published books, he is working on two books on the southern border. Huey is married, with four adult children.