Breaking News: MS-13 East Coast Program Leader Charged with RICO Conspiracy
BOSTON – The alleged leader of the MS-13’s East Coast Program was charged in an indictment unsealed today in federal court in Boston in connection with his role as one of the El Salvador-based leaders of MS-13’s East Coast Program.
Edwin Manica Flores, a/k/a “Sugar,” a/k/a “Chugar,” a/k/a “Shugar,” 35, of El Salvador and Everett, Mass., was indicted on conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy. Manica Flores is allegedly a member of MS-13’s Everett Loco Salvatrucha clique and one of the El Salvador-based leaders of MS-13’s East Coast Program. The charges are the result of an ongoing investigation into the criminal activities of leaders, members, and associates of the criminal organization La Mara Salvatrucha, or “MS-13.”
According to court documents, MS-13’s East Coast Program included so-called MS-13 “cliques” in Boston, Mass.; Houston, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. The East Coast Program, like other MS-13 programs, is alleged to have an organizational structure established by MS-13’s incarcerated leadership in El Salvador to facilitate the communication of orders and information from MS-13 leadership to cliques operating in the U.S. and to facilitate the transfer of money from cliques to MS-13 leadership in El Salvador.
In December 2015, while he was in El Salvador, Manica Flores was secretly recorded by law enforcement during a conference call with the U.S.-based leaders of MS-13’s East Coast Program who were attending a leadership meeting in Richmond, Va. During that meeting, which included East Coast Program leaders from Boston, Mass.; Houston, Texas; Maryland; Columbus, Ohio; and Virginia, Manica Flores allegedly provided direction to the group on behalf of MS-13 leadership in El Salvador about working together in a united fashion, recruiting new members and making money to send to MS-13 leadership in El Salvador.
It is further alleged that most of the MS-13 cliques in Massachusetts, including the Everett Loco Salvatrucha; Molinos Loco Salvatrucha; East Boston Loco Salvatrucha; Trece Loco Salvatrucha; and Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha, belonged to MS-13’s East Coast Program, and that these cliques worked both independently and cooperatively to engage in criminal activity. Such activity included drug distribution, robbery, and extortion, to obtain money for themselves and for MS-13 leadership in El Salvador, and to assist one another in avoiding detection by law enforcement. The indictment alleges that these cliques held meetings to collect dues from individual MS-13 members, a portion of which was then transmitted back to MS-13 leadership in El Salvador, usually by wire transfer.
The charge of RICO conspiracy provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison; three years of supervised release; and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Commissioner Thomas Truco of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections; Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Thompkins; Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett; Boston Police Commissioner William Evans; Chelsea Police Chief Brian A. Kyes; Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie; Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary; Revere Police Chief Joseph Cafarelli; and Somerville Police Chief David Fallon, made the announcement.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.