Today, an MS-13 gang member was sentenced to 160 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiring and attempting to murder on behalf of the gang.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Schenning of the District of Maryland, Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Chief James Tom Kemp of the Greenbelt Police Department; Chief Hank Stawinski of the Prince George’s County Police Department; and Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks made the announcement.
“Transnational criminal organizations like MS-13 cannot continue to devastate our communities and our children. They must be stopped. Today’s sentencing sends a warning to all gang and cartel members: we are coming for you,” said Attorney General Sessions. “This outcome shows how strong cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement can help us win the fight against violent gangs. I applaud the efforts of the fine Assistant U.S. Attorneys and all the dedicated men and women who brought this violent criminal to justice.”
Celvin Eulice Ramos-Meija, aka “Cadejo,” 21, of Columbia, Maryland, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte of the District of Maryland. Ramos-Mejia previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering and attempted murder in aid of racketeering.
MS-13 is an international gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador. Branches or “cliques” of MS-13, one of the largest street gangs in the U.S., operate throughout the U.S., including in Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and Frederick County, Maryland. Members engage in racketeering activity including murder, extortion, robberies, obstruction of justice and other crimes. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence within the gang and against rival gangs. One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, known as “chavalas,” whenever possible.
According to his plea agreement, Ramos-Mejia admitted that for the purpose of maintaining and increasing his position in MS-13, he conspired with other MS-13 members to murder a victim that he and his co-conspirators had identified as a “chavala.”
Specifically, the Ramos-Mejia admitted that on June 6, 2016, he and other members and associates of MS-13 approached the victim in Greenbelt, Maryland. Ramos-Mejia admitted that he made an MS-13 sign in the face of the victim, and that he and his co-conspirators then began to attack the victim. According to the plea agreement, the victim survived the attack, but sustained multiple stab wounds and injuries, including lacerations to his abdomen, liver and diaphragm. The victim was hospitalized for 10 days as a result of the attack.
HSI Baltimore, the Greenbelt Police Department, the Prince George’s County Police Department, and the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office investigated the case. Trial Attorney Francesca Liquori of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys William D. Moomau and Lindsay Eyler Kaplan of the District of Maryland are prosecuting the case.