Ten alleged members of the MS-13 gang from Flushing were indicted in federal court for racketeering, murder, assault, and conspiracy on Jan. 5.
The indictments were the result of a joint operation between Homeland Security Investigations and the NYPD which resulted with eight of the suspects being arrested in raids in Flushing. One other suspect was arrested in Virgina, and the 10th is already incarcerated in Oklahoma City on different charges.
The 10 men indicted are Wilber Baires, 20; Jose Barrera, 23; Kevin Cardona, 19; Rudy Guembes-Lorena, 27; Jose Guillen-Rivas, 31; Carlos Hernandez, 20; Abraham Iraheta, 21; Alex Machado, 21; Christian Merino, 18; and Nelson Quinteros, 18. All are being held without bail.
The men arrested in the raid were also found to be in possession of gang paraphenalia and weapons, including guns and a machete, HSI said.
The accused are being charged with numerous gang-related assaults, including a machete attack in 2009 and an incident in September 2010 in which a person was stabbed and beaten with a baseball bat.
The defendants are allegedly members of the Mara Salvatrucha 13 organization, also known as MS-13. The gang is believed to have a large presence in Queens and on Long Island, and they are also believed to be involved in illegal activities across the United States and in El Salvador. Many of the gang’s members are immigrants from El Salvador.
It is alleged that the 10 men were part of a small division of MS-13 called Guanacos Little Cycos Salvatruchos, or GLCS. Prosecutors allege that GLCS is responsible for many acts of gang-related violence in Flushing.
Investigators believe that Merino is the “primero,” or leader of the GLCS, and he is specifically being charged in connection with the September 2010 attack. Recordings of his phone conversations indicate Merino told another member that “we f***ed them up” and “if he’s not in the hospital, he’s dead.”
Iraheta is specifically being charged in the 2009 attack. Authorities say that the machete confiscated in the raid was in Iraheta’s possession.
Iraheta is also being charged with threatening to commit assault for a 2009 incident in which he threatened an NYPD detective with a baseball bat. During the encounter, Iraheta allegedly shouted “Shoot me, I’m going to f**k you up” at the officer repeatedly.
All 10 men are being charged with various crimes that relate to MS-13’s global operations, including robbery, racketeering, and human and drug trafficking.
In a statement issued to the press, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch of the Eastern District of New York took a strong stance against the gang’s violent activity.
“Aimed primarily at rival gang members, this gang’s violence will nevertheless extend to anyone in their way, including, as alleged, law enforcement,” Lynch said, adding, “We will make use of all available resources to protect our neighborhoods from the scourge of gang violence.”
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly thanked the HSI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their help in the case, and once again stressed the importance of combating gang violence.
“The only people who should be wielding bats in Flushing are the Mets, not MS-13,” the commissioner said.