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November 21, 2014

Two Members of MS-13 Sentenced to Lengthy Prison Terms for Violent Offenses

WASHINGTON—Two members of the Mara Salvatrucha 13, or MS-13, street gang were sentenced today for their participation in violent crimes committed on behalf of the gang.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates of the Northern District of Georgia, Special Agent in Charge Brock D. Nicholson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) in Atlanta and Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office made the announcement.

U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story of the Northern District of Georgia sentenced the following defendants today:

  • Emmanual Hidalgo, aka “Scooby,” 25, of Chamblee, Georgia, pleaded guilty to engaging in a RICO conspiracy and use of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence on Aug. 2, 2013, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release; and
  • Edwin Menjivar, aka “Vago,” and “Chilly Willy,” 33, of Norcross, Georgia, pleaded guilty to engaging in a RICO conspiracy and committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering on June 7, 2013, and was sentenced to 11 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

According to information presented in court and admitted to by the defendants, MS-13 is a violent international gang that originated in Central America. By 2005, MS-13 had established a presence in the Atlanta-area, staking out strongholds in Gwinnett and DeKalb Counties, which they defended with violence. Members of MS-13 attacked suspected rival gang members, and robbed civilians and area businesses. The defendants sentenced today admitted involvement in the following crimes:

  • Hidalgo, along with other gang members, planned to rob a suspected drug dealer at a hotel in DeKalb County in April 2007. During the attempted robbery, Hidalgo and his fellow MS-13 members killed the suspected drug dealer, who was also armed, in a shootout. Hotel surveillance video showed one of the MS-13 members stopping to pick up the victim’s gun, which he later showed off as a trophy.
  • Menjivar was the driver in an October 2007 drive-by shooting. Menjivar and a fellow MS-13 gang member drove to an apartment complex in Gwinnett County where many members of the rival “SUR-13” gang lived. As Menjivar drove, the other MS-13 gang member fired from the car, hitting one man in the neck as he was standing outside his apartment patio. The police later recovered the firearm used in the shooting from underneath Menjivar’s bedroom mattress.

This case is being investigated by ICE HSI and the FBI, with assistance from the Gwinnett County Police Department and DeKalb County Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Joseph K. Wheatley of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul R. Jones and Kim S. Dammers of the Northern District of Georgia.

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