MS-13 gang leader sentenced to 45 years in prison

Maryland

BALTIMORE, Md. (WDVM) — A leader of the national and international gang MS-13 has been sentenced to 45 years in federal prison for his roles in a racketeering conspiracy, three murders and two attempted murders.

Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar issued the sentence on Friday. After the 45 years in prison, leader Jorge Guerra-Castillo — also known as “Pelon” — will have five years of supervised release.

Guerra-Castillo is 40 years old and from Silver Spring. Officials said that in one of the attempted murders, the victim’s hand was almost cut off, leaving him without the ability to use it again.

“As a leader in MS-13, Guerra-Castillo directed and approved the violent murders of individuals thought to be rival gang members,” U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron said in a release.

Testimony during the trial stated that Guerra-Castillo exhorted other gang members to find and kill rivals, sell drugs, extort victims for money and recruit more gang members. A release said that when there “was also testimony that Guerra-Castillo raped and kidnapped a 14-year-old girl, who he took to live with him in Florida” when he was 33.

A release from the Department of Justice stated the following:

MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence both to maintain membership and discipline within the gang, as well as against rival gang members.  Participation in criminal activity by a member, particularly in violent acts directed at rival gangs or as directed by gang leadership, increase the respect accorded to that member, resulting in that member maintaining or increasing his position in the gang, and opens the door to promotion to a leadership position. 

Guerra-Castillo’s plea agreement said that he was involved in a murder that took place in April of 2015 and an attempted murder that happened in August of 2015. He was also involved in the planning and approval of other murders or attempted murders from 2015 to 2017.

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