MARYLAND (WDVM) — An MS-13 gang member associated with murders that happened in Frederick and Wheaton in 2015 has been sentenced to 32 years in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland said Monday.
In April 2015, authorities said Victim 1 was spotted by MS-13 members at a restaurant in Frederick who was then lured to the woods and killed — all with permission given by 29-year-old Carlos Alas Brizuela. During the attack on April 7, MS-13 members called Brizuela to confirm if they should kill the victim, and Brizuela confirmed that they should, authorities said. Victim 1 was buried in the woods near where he was killed.
“Federal, state, and local law enforcement will use all the tools at our disposal to arrest and prosecute gang members who prey on our neighbors. We will not rest until we dismantle this organization to make Maryland safer,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur.
Brizuela admitted he and fellow gang members stabbed a second victim to death because they saw the victim wearing Nike Cortez sneakers at a Dunkin’ in Wheaton on August 31, 2015. The attorney’s office said Brizuela previously warned the victim not to wear those sneakers because they are only worn by gang members. The victim spit on one of the gang members who then punched Victim 2 in the mouth. Then the victim threw a beer at Brizuela and ran. The gang chased Victim 2 and stabbed him to death. According to the attorney’s office, Brizuela and other gang members told gang leadership that they killed a rival gang member.
Brizuela was sentenced on federal racketeering charges. According to his plea agreement, Brizuela conspired with other MS-13 members and associates to engage in racketeering activity including murders, conspiracies to commit murder, attempted murders, extortion, robbery, and drug trafficking, in order to further the interests of the gang.
“While today’s sentence will not bring back those who had their lives taken from them, we hope it provides justice to the victims and their families and shows the FBI’s commitment to continue to work with our law enforcement partners and be uncompromising in our pursuit to bring these violent criminals to justice,” said FBI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Boone.
Brizuela and 12 other defendants have so far pleaded guilty to the crimes related to MS-13 gang activities. A total of 29 defendants have been charged, the attorney’s office said.
Hur commended the Frederick Police Department, the Montgomery County Police Department as well as Frederick and Montgomery County State’s Attorneys for their work in the investigation. Surrounding Maryland authorities were also commended.