A federal prosecutor participating in the prosecution of an MS-13 gang member said that the man's conviction substantially reduced the gang's criminal network in Maryland. The MS-13 member admitted in court as part of his plea deal that he distributed guns in the state to support the goals of the gang. The 25-year-old man has entered guilty pleas on charges of racketeering conspiracy, attempted murder and carrying a firearm while participating in a violent crime.
As a regional leader of the gang from El Salvador, the man stated in his plea agreement that he participated in multiple crimes meant to consolidate the gang's power in the state and promote its racketeering enterprises. In November 2015, he made plans with other gang members to kill a man supposedly belonging to a rival gang. He and two other men waited with guns to ambush the intended victim. One of his companions fired a shot in the face of a man and left him permanently disabled.
In January 2016, he confessed to bringing firearms from out of state and giving them to gang members. During this time period, he also distributed controlled substances like cocaine. The man remains in jail and awaits his sentencing.
Gangs typically employ violence to defend their drug distribution territory. When law enforcement officers arrest a person for street-level drug dealing or possession, an attorney could explain the severity of the drug charges. Knowledge of potential penalties might allow a person to make an informed decision about pursuing a plea deal or standing trial.
Source: Odenton Patch, "Maryland MS-13 Leader Pleads Guilty To Cocaine Sales, Shooting", Deb Belt, Sept. 8, 2018