Baltimore, Maryland – Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar today sentenced MS-13 gang member David Ernesto Nolasco Soriano age 29, to 200 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for a federal racketeering conspiracy charge related to his participation in a violent racketeering enterprise, specifically MS-13, including a kidnapping and an attempted murder.
The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge James Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore Office; Chief Jason Lando of the Frederick Police Department; Frederick County State’s Attorney J. Charles Smith, III; Chief Amal Awad of the Anne Arundel County Police Department; Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess; Acting Chief Hector Velez of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy; Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
MS-13 is a national and international gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador and other central American countries. Branches or “cliques” of MS-13, one of the largest street gangs in the United States, operate throughout Frederick County, Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County, Maryland. Nolasco Soriano was a member and associate of the Fulton Locotes Salvatrucha (FLS) clique of MS-13.
According to Nolasco Soriano’s plea agreement, from at least January 2015 through August 28, 2015, while Nolasco Soriano was a member and associate of the FLS clique of MS-13, members of the Fulton clique engaged in the distribution of marijuana on behalf of MS-13 in the District of Maryland. Members of the Fulton clique also extorted money from legitimate and illegitimate businesses that operated in the gang’s perceived “territory.”
As detailed in his plea agreement, in or around May 2015, members of the FLS clique began demanding extortion payments from “Victim 2.” When Victim 2 stopped making the required extortion payments to the FLS clique, Nolasco Soriano and other MS-13 members kidnapped Victim 2 on May 10, 2015. Nolasco Soriano and several other members of the FLS clique transported Victim 2 against his will to a remote wooded area in Frederick, Maryland. While Nolasco Soriano was present, a member of the FLS clique brandished a handgun and put the barrel of the gun in Victim 2’s mouth. Nolasco Soriano and the other members of the FLS clique released Victim 2 once Victim 2 agreed to resume making extortion payments to the FLS clique. Nolasco Soriano and the other FLS clique members who participated in the kidnapping of Victim 2 did so for the purpose of maintaining and increasing their position in MS-13.
In August 2015, Nolasco Soriano and other MS-13 members and associates, to maintain and increase their position in the gang, planned and conspired to murder Victim 3, whom they believed to be a rival gang member. On August 28, 2015, after previously conducting surveillance of the residence where Victim 3 lived with his girlfriend, Victim 4, the MS-13 members and associates entered the apartment and waited there for the victims to return. After the victims returned to the apartment, Nolasco Soriano and two other gang members attacked Victim 3 and Victim 4 with machetes and knives. Although both victims survived, the attack on Victim 3 left him with both hands nearly severed, and severe wounds to his face and torso. Victim 3 has no use of one hand and limited use of the other.
At all times of this conspiracy, members of MS-13 were expected to protect the name, reputation, and status of the gang from rival gang members and other persons. To protect the gang and to enhance its reputation, MS-13 members were expected to use any means necessary to force respect from those who showed disrespect, including acts of intimidation and violence. MS-13 had mottos consistent with its rules, beliefs, expectations and reputation including “mata, viola, controla,” which translates as, “kill, rape, control,” and “ver, oir y callar,” which means, “see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing.”
MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence both to maintain membership and discipline within the gang, as well as against rival gang members. Participation in criminal activity by a member, particularly in violent acts directed at rival gangs or as directed by gang leadership, increase the respect accorded to that member, resulting in that member maintaining or increasing his position in the gang, and opens the door to a promotion to a leadership position. One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, often referred to as “chavalas,” whenever possible.
A total of 29 defendants have been charged in this case with participating in a racketeering conspiracy and/or other crimes related to their association with MS-13, including 18 defendants charged in the fifth superseding indictment filed on October 21, 2019. A total of 21 defendants, including Nolasco Soriano, have pleaded guilty to crimes related to their participation in MS-13 gang activities.
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.
This case is also part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the FBI; HSI; the Frederick Police Department; the Anne Arundel, Montgomery, and Prince George’s County Police Departments; and the Anne Arundel, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George’s County State’s Attorneys for their work in the investigation, and recognized the Baltimore County Police Department for its assistance. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth S. Clark, Catherine K. Dick, and Matthew DellaBetta, who are prosecuting this case.
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