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'Reign of terror' | MS-13 leader facing up to 45 years for horrific murders, gang-related crimes in Maryland

Guerra-Castillo will be sentenced to between 32.5 and 45 years in federal prison for his plea agreement.

SILVER SPRING, Md. — A 40-year-old MS-13 gang leader was arrested for his involvement in murders, extortion, drug dealing and racketeering, according to the United States Justice Department.

Jorge Guerra-Castillo, also known as “Pelon," plead guilty to his participation in several gang activities as a member of the Fulton Locos Salvatruchas (FLS) clique of MS-13, officials said.

During Guerra-Castillo's time in the FLS clique, officials said he was involved in an incident that led to the murder of a suspected rival gang member to maintain and increase rank in the gang in April 2015. According to authorities, MS-13 gang leadership in Maryland sought and received approval from Guerra-Castillo to kill the victim. Officials said in this incident, MS-13 members lured the victim into a wooded area in Frederick, Md. and repeatedly struck the person using a machete and a knife before burying them in the woods.

The victim's body was recovered by authorities the following day.

Under Guerra-Castillo's leadership, he also instructed other MS-13 members to kidnap and kill another victim because the person stopped making extortion payments to the gang in May 2015. In this incident, the victim was forced into a car and taken to a wooded area where they agreed to make the payments and was released by Guerra-Castillo and other leadership commands.

Guerra-Castillo was also said to have given approval for MS-13 members to murder someone in August 2015. Authorities said three gang members attacked the victim and his girlfriend with a machete and knives. Luckily, they survived the attack which left them with serious wounds to the face and both hands nearly severed.

In 2017, officials said Guerra-Castillo admitted to approving the murder of a rival gang member to maintain and increase the status of MS-13 and allow members to maintain or increase their status within the gang. The victim's body was dismembered and buried in a grave in a secluded area in Crownsville, Md.

Guerra-Castillo will be sentenced to between 32.5 and 45 years in federal prison for his plea agreement. His sentencing is scheduled for October 15, 2021, at 2 p.m.  

“The reign of terror, acts of violence, and horrific murders that Guerra-Castillo and his fellow MS-13 members have committed will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner. “The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland and our partners are committed to breaking the strong hold of violent gangs like MS-13 with swift and stringent prosecution.  We will utilize every legal resource to ensure that citizens can live peacefully and fearlessly within their own communities.”

Anyone with information about MS-13 is encouraged to call the FBI’s nationwide tipline, 1-866-STP-MS13 (1-866-787-6713).  The FBI tipline allows individuals to provide information about MS-13’s criminal activities to a central location and the FBI will then disseminate the information to the appropriate law enforcement authorities for investigation.  Your identity will be protected.

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