A male MS-13 gang member has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his involvement in a “brutal” machete attack in a park just outside Dallas, Texas, the Department of Justice announced on Nov. 18.
Manuel Amaya-Alvarez, 22, pleaded guilty in May to four counts of violent crime in aid of racketeering (VICAR) and was sentenced in the district federal court in the Northern District of Texas last Thursday, the department said.
Amaya-Alvarez, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador and a member of the violent MS-13 gang, admitted that he and fellow gang members tried to “take out” or kill four individuals at Running Bear Park in Irving, Texas, in September 2017.
Gang members lured a man, who they thought was a rival gang member, to a park under the guise that they wanted to buy the man’s tattoo machine. That man arrived at the park with three other people—two men and a female acquaintance.
Upon their arrival, the gang members then lured the group into a wooded area at the back of the park where gang members armed with a shotgun, machetes, and clubs were waiting.
Court documents said Amaya-Alvarez and another gang member, who were seated on a park bench, greeted the victims before other gang members came out of hiding and surrounded the victims. The gang members forced them to kneel on the ground before robbing them and attacking them with the weapons.
The three men managed to escape but the female victim could not and was severely injured and left for dead. Two of the men also suffered from serious injuries.
Earlier this year, another MS-13 gang member was sentenced to 55 years in prison for his involvement in the murder of four men. The man, Josue Portillo, is an illegal alien from El Salvador and faces deportation from the United States.
The MS-13 gang, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, was initially formed by Salvadoran immigrants fleeing the civil war in their home country. It is widely viewed as one of America’s most violent criminal groups, which also endangers the safety of communities in Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
The gang’s motto is “kill, rape, control” and routinely uses brutal assault methods on victims to instill fear and force compliance.
It was also designated as a transnational criminal organization by the Department of Treasury in 2012 and became a priority for the Justice Department’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces in 2017 under the Trump administration. The administration also made MS-13 a focus for its crackdown on drug trafficking and illegal immigration.
During the 2018 fiscal year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents arrested 959 MS-13 gang members and associates. Meanwhile, nearly 6,000 gang members, including 1,332 MS-13 members were removed from the country—a 24-percent increase from the 2017 fiscal year, according to ICE data.