Greenbelt, MD – U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced Juan Alberto Ortiz-Orellana, aka “Chele” and “Furia,” age 28, of District Heights, Maryland; and Minor Perez-Chach, aka “Minor Chach-Perez,” “Little Bad” and “Bryant Sacarias,” age 25, of Hyattsville, Maryland, today to life in prison. On May 20, 2016, Ortiz-Orellana and Perez-Chach were convicted of multiple charges in connection with their MS-13 gang activities, including conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise, murder in aid of racketeering and related firearm charges. Ortiz-Orellana was also convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering.
The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Chief Hank Stawinski of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
MS-13 is a national and transnational gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador. Branches or “cliques” of MS-13, one of the largest street gangs in the United States, operate throughout Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and Frederick County, Maryland. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence to maintain membership and discipline within the gang. One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, known as “chavalas,” whenever possible.
According to evidence presented at trial, from at least 2009 through October 2014, MS-13 members planned and committed murders, attempted murders, assaults, and robberies in Prince George’s, Montgomery, and Frederick Counties. Gang members also extorted brothel operators and owners of other illegal businesses and tampered with and retaliated against witnesses, among other crimes.
According to the trial evidence, in January 2013, co-defendant Jorge Moreno-Aguilar and Ortiz-Orellana, both members of the MS-13 Sailors Locotes Salvatrucha Westside Clique, targeted an individual associated with the rival 18th Street gang, obtained photographs of the victim from Facebook and conspired to murder him with other members of MS-13. On March 12, 2013, Moreno-Aguilar and Ortiz-Orellana went to Capitol Heights, Maryland, and shot the victim multiple times outside his home, killing him.
In addition, trial evidence showed that on February 23, 2013, Perez-Chach, who was a member of the MS-13 Langley Park Salvatrucha (LPS) Clique, followed a man whom he believed to be a member of MS-13 who had testified against MS-13 members in federal trials in Greenbelt, Maryland. In fact, the evidence showed that the victim was not the witness from the previous MS-13 trials. Perez-Chach stabbed the victim to death in his home while another member of MS-13 attacked the victim with a machete. During his arrest on May 20, 2013, Perez-Chach also illegally possessed a firearm and ammunition.
Jorge Moreno-Aguilar, age 23, of District Heights, Maryland, was convicted of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise, murder in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering. Moreno-Aguilar is scheduled to be sentenced on January 31, 2017.
Fourteen of the 15 defendants charged in this investigation have been convicted for their roles in the racketeering conspiracy. The final defendant is a fugitive.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended HSI Baltimore, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County Police Departments, and Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties State’s Attorney’s Offices for their work in the investigation and proceedings. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys William D. Moomau and Lindsay Eyler Kaplan as well as Trial Attorney Catherine K. Dick with the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, who are prosecuting the case, and recognized former OCGS Trial Attorney Kevin Rosenberg who assisted in the prosecution.