VIOLENT MS-13 MEMBER FACING LIFE IMPRISONMENT IN RICO CASE
Mala Salvatrucha, or MS-13, member Walter Noel Barahona, also known as "Lil Loco," 23, a Maryland resident, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to conspiracy to conduct and participate in the racketeering activities of a branch of the MS-13 gang.
Of 22 alleged MS-13 gang members indicted in 2005 on RICO conspiracy and other charges, Barahona is the eighth to plead guilty. Two others have been convicted at trial and six other defendants are scheduled to go to trial in March 2007.
No trial date has been set for the remaining defendants, including nine who face a determination as to whether the United States will seek the death penalty.
"The RICO statute is a powerful tool that allows us to hold gang members accountable in federal court for the crimes of the criminal organizations they chose to join," stated U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.
"Walter Noel Barahona will spend many years in federal prison with no probation and no parole, thanks to the joint efforts of local, state and federal authorities. The U.S. Attorney's Office in this case was fortunate to have the support of the Justice Department's Gang Squad."
According to the statement of facts provided to the court as part of the plea agreement, La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13 gang (MS-13), is a gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, with members operating throughout Prince George's County and Montgomery County, MD, and elsewhere. MS-13 is a national and international criminal organization with approximately 10,000 members.
Beginning at least in 2001 and continuing through August 2005, Barahona attended various MS-13 meetings and paid dues to the gang. On Sept. 17, 2004, Barahona and other MS-13 gang members took part in the stabbing of a rival gang member near a night club in Langley Park, MD. The victim was hit and cut with beer bottles, kicked and stabbed in the hands.
On June 7, 2005, Barahona and other MS-13 gang members assaulted two youths with bottles and a knife in Langley Park. Barahona fought with one of the youths, a rival gang member. The victim was forced to hold on to Barahona to prevent another MS-13 gang member from stabbing him. The victim was hit with a stick across his fingers and kicked when he subsequently fell. The victim's mother was able to eventually disperse the attackers after threatening to call police.
On Oct. 21, 2003 a 17-year old man was walking home from school when he was assaulted by Barahona and other MS-13 gang members. The victim was punched and struck with a wooden bat. A bystander threatening to call the police halted the assault. The victim had swelling and red marks on his face, arm and leg.
Barahona's home was searched in December 2004 and August 2005. Gang paraphernalia was found. His telephone number was recovered from the memory of a telephone seized at an address where MS-13 members were discovered, where a videotape of Teclas Locos Salvatruchos (TLS) members in El Salvador was recovered, saluting the Maryland TLS members.
faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. US District Judge Deborah
K. Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for April 16, 2007. Barahona
remains in federal custody.
© 2007 Jim Kouri- All
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Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.
He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores.
On Oct. 21, 2003 a 17-year old man was walking home from school when he was assaulted by Barahona and other MS-13 gang members. The victim was punched and struck with a wooden bat. A bystander threatening to call the police halted the assault.