Maryland Authorities Arrest 3 More Alleged MS-13 Killers in Gang-related Stabbing

September 13, 2019 Updated: September 13, 2019

Maryland authorities said they have arrested three more suspects—in addition to seven already in custody—with alleged links to a gang-related slaying in June.

All 10 suspects are believed to be associated with the MS-13 street gang and face various charges in connection with the murder of 21-year-old Daniel Alejandro Alvarado-Cuellar, who was found stabbed to death.

On Thursday, Sept. 12, authorities in Baltimore County announced that Cockeysville residents Hugo Leonel Martinez-Vasquez, 22, Jose Alexi Villacorta-Rivas, 19, and Yoni Membreno-Parada, 17, have all been charged with first-degree murder.

Investigators cited by The Baltimore Sun said that the slaying stemmed from a war between MS-13 and the rival 18th Street Gang.

“The victim had been seen making a hand gesture that was believed to be indicative of an affiliation with the 18th Street,” detectives wrote, according to the Sun.

The killers stalked Cuellar in Towson on July 30, the report said, before ambushing him in his home and stabbing him to death.

The three recently arrested suspects—and the seven previously taken into custody—are all being held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center, police said.

All 10 could face life sentences in prison.

Immigration Detainers

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official said that some of the suspects arrested for the slaying of Cuellar are illegal immigrants.

An ICE official told Fox News on Sunday that six immigration detainers were issued for six of the initial seven suspects. The spokeswoman said that six of the seven are in the United States illegally and are members of MS-13.

The seven suspects were identified as Jonathan Escobar-Hernandez, 20; Marlon Leonardo Fabian-Flores, 20; Edwin Edgardo Garcia-Martir, 18; Hugo Portillo-Chavez, 31; Jose Fausto Rivera-Coreas, 19; Odaliz Rosas-Yanez, 20; and Leonel Alexander Velasquez-Hernadez, 16.

MS-13 is particularly active in Maryland, but its gang activity is centered around the Washington suburbs.

In 2019, a 14-year-old girl was killed by MS-13 gang members using a machete and a baseball bat.

Months before that, five MS-13 members were arrested for the slaying of a 16-year-old MS-13 gang member. He was found stabbed more than 100 times.

MS-13 gang member
An MS-13 gang member in detention in San Miguel, El Salvador, on March 4, 2013. (Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images)

Most Wanted Suspect Sentenced

Several weeks ago, an MS-13 gang member who once was on the FBI’s top 10 list of most-wanted fugitives, received a 25-year sentence for killing a man on behalf of the gang and agreeing that a conspirator would commit multiple violent acts, according to The Associated Press.

Walter Yovany Gomez pleaded guilty in June to racketeering conspiracy.

A 2013 indictment charged Gomez and another man with the fatal beating and stabbing of a fellow gang member suspected of associating with a rival gang in Plainfield, New Jersey. According to the FBI, the victim’s throat was slit, he was struck in the head with a bat and stabbed 17 times with a screwdriver.

Gomez’s accomplice was convicted of the crime.

Gomez fled New Jersey but was captured in northern Virginia in 2017.

The Associated Press and Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

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