Greenbelt, Maryland – A federal jury today convicted Raul Ernesto Landaverde-Giron, a/k/a “Humilde,” a/k/a “Decente,” of Silver Spring, Maryland of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise in connection with his gang activity as a member of La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. Landaverde-Giron was also found guilty of murder in aid of racketeering; conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering; using, carrying and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence; and murder resulting from the use, carrying and discharging of a firearm during a crime of violence.
The conviction was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning; Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan 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 Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County, Maryland, Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks; Chief Douglas Holland of the Hyattsville City Police Department; Chief Edward Hargis of the Frederick Police Department; Frederick County State’s Attorney J. Charles Smith; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
“With more than 10,000 members across 40 U.S. states, MS-13 is one of the deadliest gangs in America,” said Attorney General Sessions. “That’s why the Trump administration and this Department of Justice have worked aggressively to dismantle this vicious gang and take its members off of our streets. Maryland in particular has suffered terribly because of MS-13’s campaign of rape, murder, and extortion. Today’s conviction is another victory for the American people against this uniquely barbaric gang, and I want to thank everyone who played a role in making it possible, especially Homeland Security Investigations, Prince George’s and Montgomery County police, Hyattsville police, and the Assistant U.S. Attorneys and Department of Justice Trial Attorneys who prosecuted the case. MS-13 thinks that they are targeting us—but we are targeting them.”
According to the indictment, 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. MS-13 imposes “greenlights,” or orders to be killed, on members or associates who betray the gang by cooperating with law enforcement or violating significant gang rules.
According to evidence presented at the three-week trial, from at least 2012 through at least 2016, MS-13 members planned and committed numerous crimes, including murders and attempted murders in Prince George’s County and Frederick County. Gang members also extorted owners of illegal businesses, among other crimes. Landaverde-Giron was a member of the MS-13 Normandie Locos Salvatrucha Clique.
Trial evidence showed that on November 30, 2013, Landaverde-Giron, along with two other Normandie Clique members, murdered an individual in Frederick, Maryland, who had fled El Salvador to escape a greenlight imposed by MS-13 members in El Salvador. After a co-conspirator recognized the victim in Frederick, Normandie Clique members called an MS-13 leader in prison in El Salvador to confirm the greenlight was still in effect. A co-conspirator then lured the victim to a wooded area in Frederick, where he shot the victim in the head and Landaverde-Giron and another co-conspirator stabbed the victim in the face and neck. Landaverde-Giron was promoted within the Normandie Clique for his participation in this murder.
Landaverde-Giron faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison for murder in aid of racketeering. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte has scheduled sentencing for June 13, 2018, at 9:30 am. Landaverde-Giron remains detained.
In addition to this conviction, five of the seven defendants charged in this case have previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the racketeering conspiracy.
Acting United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning commended HSI Baltimore, Frederick Police Department, Prince George’s County Police Department, Hyattsville City Police Department, and Montgomery County Police Department, and the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office, for their work in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Schenning thanked Assistant United States Attorneys William D. Moomau and Lindsay Eyler Kaplan, and Trial Attorney Francesca Liquori with the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, who are prosecuting the case.