Four Nevada-based MS-13 gang members were indicted by a federal grand jury for the alleged killing of 10 people in a Las Vegas area, authorities confirmed Wednesday.
The suspects charged in the superseding indictment were identified as Luis Reynaldo Reyes-Castillo, 27; David Arturo Perez-Manchame, 22; Joel Vargas-Escobar, 25; and Alexander De Jesus Figueroa-Torres, 25, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement.
They were charged on counts of murder and kidnapping in aid of racketeering, and weapons charges, officials said, adding the suspects are part of the “Parkview clique” that is operating in Las Vegas.
Reyes-Castillo and Perez-Manchame are scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 10 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elayna J. Youchah for the District of Nevada. They face life in prison if convicted. It is unclear when the other two gang members would appear before the judge.
“The violence alleged in the superseding indictment, in this case, is truly shocking,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite said. “The murder spree carried out by MS-13 in Las Vegas clearly shows the danger posed by organized street gangs like MS-13.”
The DOJ said the crimes happened from March 2017 to March 2018, attributed one non-fatal shooting in February 2018 to the defendants, and said five slain victims were also kidnapped.
The names of the 10 victims in the 55-page indictment match a list that Las Vegas police provided in March 2018, when Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo held a news conference to say 10 slaying cases had been solved with the arrests of four adults and a teenager. The names of the suspects were not made public at that time.
“By significantly undermining MS-13’s ability to engage in violence in Las Vegas, the hard work and dedication of our law enforcement partners have made our communities safer,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou. “Our office remains committed to protecting our neighborhoods against gang violence and other criminal activity by prosecuting dangerous transnational criminal organizations like MS-13.”
Last week, a federal grand jury in Tennessee indicted another nine suspected MS-13 gang members with racketeering and violent criminal conspiracy that includes murder, the DOJ announced in a separate statement.
Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said those seven murders happened between April 2016 and September 2017, over a 17-month period. If convicted, all nine suspects face a maximum sentence of ten years to life in prison.
The MS-13 gang, also known as “La 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 vast majority of prosecuted MS-13 defendants are foreign nationals, the DOJ stated in a separate report, adding that the gang was able to thrive and operate in the United States for decades by exploiting weak immigration enforcement policies.
The gang’s motto is “kill, rape, control” and routinely uses brutal assault methods on victims to instill fear and force compliance.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.