8 alleged Md. MS-13 members charged in string of killings, drug trafficking, extortion

WASHINGTON — Eight Maryland men suspected of being members of the MS-13 gang have been indicted on racketeering charges and accused of planning murders, trafficking drugs and guns, and extorting money.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that the eight men are all in custody. They are Carlos Roberto Tejada-Cruz, 20, of Beltsville; Kevin Alexis Hernandez-Guevara, 20, of Landover Hills; Rolanco Aristides Juarez-Vasquez, 22, of Hyattsville; Jeffry Rodriguez, 21, of Beltsville; Junior Noe Alvarado-Requeno, 20, of Landover; Michael Eduardo Contreras, 22, of Silver Spring; Luis Fernando Orellana-Estrada, 18, of Hyattsville; and Donald Roberto Mendez-Lopez, 18, of Hyattsville.

The indictment, which was handed up Sept. 27 but announced Wednesday, says that the eight were part of a “clique,” or branch, of MS-13 that planned and carried out several murders between June 2016 and June of this year, the Justice Department said.

Specifically, Alvarado-Requeno has been charged with planning and directing the murder of someone thought to be a member of the rival 18th Street gang on June 16, 2016, in Gaithersburg.

Tejada-Cruz, Hernandez-Guevara and other MS-13 members and associates are charged with killing someone on July 29, 2016; Contreras is charged with arranging for clique members to travel to Lynchburg, Virginia, where they murdered someone in Bedford County; and Juarez-Vasquez allegedly shot and killed someone in Adelphi, Maryland, on June 1 of this year.

Hernandez-Guevara and Rodriguez are alleged to have shot and stabbed two people in the course of committing a robbery during a marijuana deal on Aug. 9, 2016, the statement said. And the clique allegedly sold marijuana and cocaine in Langley Park and extorted money from “owners of illegal businesses” in Langley Park and Wheaton between 2015 and last month, with the money going to MS-13 members in El Salvador, the Justice Department said.

Alvarado-Requeno, Tejada-Cruz, Hernandez-Guevara, and Juarez-Vasquez face a maximum sentence of life in prison. Tejada-Cruz and Hernandez-Guevara also face 10-year sentences on charges of conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering.

The others face sentences of up to 20 years on charges including extortion and conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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