A suspected high-ranking and “senior member” of the gang Mara Salvatrucha, widely known as MS-13, is under arrest and faces up to life in prison in the United States after being wanted for his “involvement in the direction of MS-13 activity in the United States, Mexico, and El Salvador.”
The federal government alleges that 56-year-old Jose Wilfredo Ayala-Alcantara, a.k.a. “Indio de Hollywood,” is a founding member of the MS-13’s Hollywood “clique” who rose through the ranks and became a major shot-caller for the gang in El Salvador following his deportation from America and incarceration.
Defendant Ayala-Alcantara was arrested in Houston, Texas, by U.S. Marshals on Tuesday upon arriving at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, prosecutors announced in a lengthy press release outlining the massive Joint Task Force Vulcan investigation. He was hauled to the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) thereafter to face charges alongside 12 other “high-ranking MS-13 leaders.”
He allegedly “rose to become a leader of the Ranfla en Las Calles.” After being deported from the U.S. to El Salvador and incarcerated, Ayala-Alcantara was “elevated to be a member of the Ranfla Nacional” and “managed MS-13 operations in the United States, including drug trafficking,” the indictment in the case alleged.
The 42-page indictment naming the 13 defendants was unsealed in February.
“[The] transnational criminal organization” with “tens of thousands of members worldwide” committed “violence, including acts involving murder, robbery, and assault, as well as other criminal activity, including narcotics trafficking, extortion, witness tampering, and witness retaliation,” the indictment said. “MS-13 members and associates engaged in ‘terrorist activity’ […] and in ‘terrorism.'”
“MS-13 and its members used violence against law enforcement, military members, government officials, and civilians in El Salvador in order to obtain concessions from the government of El Salvador, to retaliate for government actions against MS-13’s members and leaders, and to achieve political goals,” the indictment added. “MS-13’s leaders also directed members to commit acts of violence, including murder, in the United States.”
The indictment attempted to trace the relevant steps of MS-13’s hierarchical history, including the founding in an El Salvadoran prison back in 2002 of the gang’s “first leadership body,” the “Twelve Apostles of the Devil.” After rebranding the original leadership structure as “Ranfla” and “Ranfla Historica,” “Ranfla Nacional” came to be. That group of original founders and high-ranking members was described in the indictment as “acting as the equivalent of a ‘board of directors'” for the whole gang, which includes the Ranfla en Las Calles and Ranfla en Los Penales in its “command and control structure” (the indictment specifies the entities within the gang to which each of the defendants allegedly belongs).
“In order to maintain control over the membership of MS-13, the Ranfla Nacional developed rules to govern the behavior of members,” the indictment explained. “The Ranfla Nacional used the Ranfla en los Penales to distribute these rules to members in prisons in El Salvador and the Ranfla en las Calles to distribute the rules to members in El Salvador, the United States, and elsewhere. Only the Ranfla Nacional could change the rules or add new rules.”
Co-defendants already under arrest in the U.S. are 47-year-old Vladimir Antonio Arevalo Chavez, a.k.a. “Vampiro de Monserrat Criminales”; 47-year-old Marlon Antonio Menjivar-Portillo, a.k.a. “Rojo de Park View”; and 29-year-old Walter Yovani Hernandez-Rivera, a.k.a. “Bastard de Park View.”
The remaining alleged fugitive defendants were identified as: 45-year-old Jorge Alexander de la Cruz, a.k.a. “Cruger de Peatonales”; 45-year-old Francisco Javier Roman-Bardales, a.k.a. “Veterano de Tribus”; and 42-year-old Juan Antonio Martinez-Abrego, a.k.a. “Mary Jane de Hollywood.”
Defendants “believed to be” in the custody of El Salvador were identified as: 52-year-old Ruben Antonio Rosa-Lovo, a.k.a. “Chivo de Centrales”; 48-year-old Dany Balmore Romero-Garcia, a.k.a. “Big Boy de Normandies”; 47-year-old Miguel Angel Serrano-Medina, a.k.a. “Cabro de Park View”; 44-year-old Dany Fredy Ramos-Mejia, a.k.a. “Cisco de Teclas; and 35-year-old Edwin Ernesto Cedillos-Rodriguez, a.k.a. “Renuente de Abriles Dangers.”
EDNY U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement that Ayala-Alcantara’s “abominable MS-13 career has come full circle” now that he is facing charges in the country where that career allegedly began.
Other government officials quoted in the press release described Ayala-Alcantara as a “zealous” MS-13 leader and director of the gang’s “vicious appetite for power through carnage and bloodshed.”
A wanted poster from the FBI made sure to show the defendant’s “multiple gang-related tattoos on his chest and back” while he was still considered a fugitive. The FBI said that a narco-terrorism conspiracy and RICO warrant for the defendant’s arrest was issued on Long Island in September 2022.
“The day before [his arrest], Ayala-Alcantara had been located by Mexican authorities, who determined that he was an El Salvadoran citizen with no valid status in Mexico. He was expelled from Mexico to El Salvador but arrested while transiting through the United States,” DOJ said. “Specifically, Ayala-Alcantara is charged with racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to provide or conceal material support to terrorists, and narco-terrorism conspiracy.”
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