An MS-13 gang member at a prison in Salvador. As the gang spread from Central America to the U.S., authorities say its symbols became more subtl

Nine MS-13 Members Indicted For Crimes Including Seven Murders.


A federal grand jury from Nashville, Tennessee, returned a 60-count indictment on July 28, charging nine La Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang members with violent crimes, including murder, and “a racketeering conspiracy spanning more than seven years.”

The indictment is a second superseding one, and the names of the nine indicted MS-13 members, according to the Department of Justice, are Jason Sandoval, aged 35, aka “Bin Laden,” Carlos Ochoa-Martinez, 31, aka “El Serio,” Jorge Flores, 29, aka “Peluche,” Kevin Tidwell, 28, aka “Miklo,” all of Nashville; Luis Colindres, 24, aka “Listo,” Jose Pineda-Caceres, 22, aka “Demente,” Franklin Hernandez, 22, aka “Happy,” Juan Melendez, aka “Shaggy,” and Gerson Serrano-Ramirez, 34, aka “Frijole.”

Many MS-13 members, including those with a criminal history, have been caught by Border Patrol illegally crossing the US border.

“According to court documents and statements made in court, MS-13 is a national and transnational gang composed largely of individuals of Salvadoran or Central American descent. The purpose of the MS-13 enterprise includes preserving and protecting the power, territory, reputation and profits of the enterprise through the use of intimidation and violence, including murder and promoting the enterprise through acts of murder, robbery, drug trafficking and other criminal activities. Branches or ‘cliques’ of MS-13 operate throughout the United States, including in Nashville.”

One of these cliques, the Thompson Place Locos Salvatrucha clique, which operated out of Nashville, has members charged by the indictment with a “wide range of offenses.” Among these offenses are the murder of seven people, the attempted murder of five other individuals, kidnappings, robberies, drug distribution, and assaults. This chart lists the specific violent acts for which the MS-13 members were indicted, acts committed over roughly a 17-month period of time:

The MS-13 gang members are charged with many different offenses, which include murder and other violent crimes in aid of racketeering, witness tampering, RICO conspiracy, using a firearm during a crime of violence, causing death through the use of a firearm, possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, and violations of the Controlled Substances Act.

The statutory penalties consequent on the charged offenses have a range from a statutory maximum of 10 years to as much as life imprisonment. The sentence will be determined by a federal district court judge following consideration of statutory factors including the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

“As alleged in the indictment, MS-13 gang members often target individuals for violence based on the gang’s belief that an individual is a rival gang member or a potential witness to crimes committed by the MS-13 members. MS-13 members are required to follow various rules, chief among them being that cooperation with law enforcement is strictly prohibited, and it is well understood within the gang that anyone who assists the authorities will be punished with death; that members are required to confront, fight and/or kill rival gang members when possible; and that members are required to retaliate quickly and viciously against anyone who disrespects or threatens the gang’s authority, power, reputation or control of a neighborhood. Participation in such violent acts by a member increases the respect accorded to that member, results in that member maintaining or increasing their position in the gang, and could result in a promotion to a leadership position.”

Catherine Salgado

Catherine Salgado is a double-major in Classical Languages and Theology and a former contributor to The National Pulse.

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