Law & Justice

Press Releases

Five Members of NJ Branch of International Street Gang “MS-13” Sentenced to Prison

73ee58ba8df19f056586_Dept_of_Justice.JPG
73ee58ba8df19f056586_Dept_of_Justice.JPG

FOUR NEW JERSEY MEMBERS OF VIOLENT, INTERNATIONAL STREET GANG SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR RACKETEERING-RELATED CHARGES

Another Member of Plainfield-based Gang Sentenced to Over 14 Years in Prison

NEWARK, N.J. – Five members of the New Jersey branch of the international street gang “La Mara Salvatrucha,” or “MS-13”– including the branch’s founding member – were sentenced to prison for their roles in a violent criminal enterprise that included murder, extortion, and plots to kill witnesses, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced today.

Sign Up for E-News

Santos Reyes-Villatoro, a/k/a “Mousey,” 43, of Bound Brook, New Jersey, Julian MozAguilar, a/k/a “Humilde,” 29, of Plainfield, New Jersey, and Hugo Palencia, a/k/a “Taliban,” 24, of Plainfield, were each sentenced today to life plus 10 years in prison. Mario Oliva, a/k/a “Zorro,” 30, and Esau Ramirez, a/k/a “Panda,” 25, both of Plainfield, were sentenced Nov. 27, 2016 to life plus 10 years in prison and 169 months in prison, respectively.

All five defendants were previously convicted following a 16-week trial before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler, who imposed the sentences this week in Newark federal court. Reyes-Villatoro, Oliva, Moz-Aguilar, and Palencia were each convicted of racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, use of a firearm in a violent federal crime, and murder resulting from a federal firearm crime. Ramirez was convicted of racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering.

According to the documents filed in this case and the evidence presented at trial:

MS-13 is a national and transnational gang with branches or “cliques” operating throughout the United States, including in Plainfield. All of the defendants were members of the “Plainfield Locos Salvatruchas” (PLS) clique of MS-13 that was founded by Reyes-Villatoro and operated in Union, Somerset, and Middlesex Counties. Reyes-Villatoro, Oliva and Roberto Contreras, a/k/a “Demonio,” 28, of Bound Brook, all served as “First Word,” or leader, of PLS.

From 2007 through September 2013, MS-13 members from PLS committed five murders in furtherance of MS-13’s objectives. On Feb. 9, 2009, Reyes-Villatoro, acting as the leader of PLS, drove Moz-Aguilar and other MS-13 members through the streets of Plainfield searching for rival gang members, eventually stopping at the Plainfield train station. There, Moz-Aguilar 2 used a firearm previously provided by Reyes-Villatoro to murder a victim who was believed to be a member of the Latin Kings, a rival gang.

On Feb. 27, 2010, Oliva drove a female member of MS-13 to an empty parking lot in Piscataway, New Jersey, and murdered her because she was suspected of working with law enforcement. Oliva then fled New Jersey with the assistance of Contreras and hid from law enforcement with the MS-13 Pinos clique in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

On Nov. 11, 2010, Palencia drove another MS-13 member to the area around Barack Obama Academy in Plainfield, where they encountered students challenging MS-13. Palencia pulled over, provided a firearm to another MS-13 member and instructed him to shoot at one of the individuals. The MS-13 member shot into the crowd, killing a bystander.

On Jan. 10, 2011, Moz-Aguilar, Contreras and other MS-13 members were in a car when they spotted a suspected 18th Street gang member in front of a restaurant. Contreras stopped the vehicle and an MS-13 member exited, approached the suspected rival gang member and shot him in the head.

On May 8, 2011, Cruz Flores, a/k/a “Bruja,” 30, of Bound Brook, murdered a victim who was caught socializing with 18th Street gang members. Flores and another MS-13 member cut his throat, beat him with a bat and stabbed him in the back 17 times. An MS-13 member involved in this murder fled New Jersey and was driven to Maryland soon after law enforcement began searching for him.

Jose Garcia, a/k/a “Chucky” and “Diabolico,” 24, of Plainfield, recruited and hired MS- 13 members from the Maryland-based Pinos clique to come to New Jersey and murder a woman in exchange for $40,000. The Pinos clique members were arrested by authorities as they pulled into Plainfield.

After several MS-13 members were arrested in July 2011, Ramirez and Garcia used phones from inside the Union County, New Jersey, jail to order the murder of three witnesses believed to be cooperating with police and responsible for their arrests.

According to evidence presented at trial, members of PLS also were responsible for an attempted murder of suspected Latin King members near a car wash in Plainfield; the attempted murder of suspected Latin King members in January 2009; a machete attack in May 2011 and another in June 2011 on the train tracks passing through Plainfield; an attempted murder shooting in Plainfield in May 2011; and several other violent crimes, including extortion, robbery and several weapons offenses.

The defendants were originally charged in a 26-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in September 2013. As of today, 13 of the 14 individuals charged in that indictment have been convicted. One defendant remains a fugitive. Contreras, Garcia, and Flores await sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Fishman and Assistant Attorney General Caldwell credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), under 3 Newark Field Office Director John Tsoukaris; and Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Terence S. Opiola, with the investigation.

They also thanked the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Grace H. Park, for long, close collaboration on the case. They also thanked the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey, for their roles. They also acknowledged the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Virginia and the District of Maryland, as well as the Plainfield Police Department, Union County Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Elizabeth Police Department, North Plainfield Police Department, Union County Department of Corrections, Prince George’s County, Maryland, Police Department and the U.S. Marshal’s Service for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys James M. Donnelly and J. Jamari Buxton of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark and by Kevin L. Rosenberg, of the Organized Crime and Gangs Section of the Department of Justice.

16-336

###

Defense counsel: Reyes-Villatoro: Anthony Iacullo Esq. and David Glazer Esq. Oliva: Henry Klingeman Esq. and Kenneth Kayser Esq. Moz-Aguilar: John Whipple Esq. Palencia: Joseph Rubino Esq. and Kelley Sharkey Esq. Ramirez: Michael Koribanics Esq

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

You Meet the Most Amazing People on the Trail

The weather cooperated this weekend, so I went for more than one hike. After all, there are only just over fifty days before my walk to Maine commences, so why not.

This Saturday, some friends dragged me away from housecleaning (thank you!) for a quick jaunt through Watchung Reservation.  While we were there, we ran into two individuals from Westfield; the cosplayers introduced themselves ...

Go Take a Walk

Friday, March 30 was Take a Walk in the Park Day, so I did.  I really didn't have an excuse to not do so; the sun was shining, I had the day off, and I had no plans for the rest of the day.  So after a session with Abbe, my trainer at LifeTime Fitness, I made the short trip to Lake Surprise in Watchung Reservation. 

As I made my way around the lake, it was easy to see how ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_9d8e453cf3136a3d0129_rec_2017_hw_helper

Mon, May 21, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper

Education

Mon, May 21, 7:00 PM

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills, Somerville

Meta Performs ‘Dismantling the Racism Machine’: ...

Giving Back Other

Carousel_image_03f7e31b319ddd115b05_may_children_room

Tue, May 22, 3:30 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

Bilingual Storytime with Ms. Jai

Arts & Entertainment

Holy Savior Academy Presents ‘The Sound of Music,’ Eighth Graders Inducted into Thespian Society 

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy's Drama Club performed 'Getting to Know: The Sound of Music' on May 3 and May 4. 

Holy Savior Academy's Drama Club just finished its fourth year and has performed six shows. The Drama Club is run under the direction of Susan Loughlin, Daneile Micale and Eva Tripodi. This year’s production, which featured a cast ...

UC's Performing Arts Company Earns Prestigious Foxy Award

May 20, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ -- Union Catholic's Performing Arts Company received a great honor when it was chosen for the Outstanding Achievement in Choreography or Movement for its Fall Play, Peter and the Starcatcher, at Montclair State University's Theater Awards last Monday.

Ms. Jeanette Rudnicki, a 2009 graduate of Union Catholic, was the choreographer. UC senior Angeline Carlo, who lives in ...

Peru Claims 1-0 Victory Over Colombia as Soccer Legends Show Off Skills in Paterson

May 20, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- During their playing days Carlos Valderama and Julio Uribe led their teams to victory in some of the largest soccer stadiums across the globe. On Saturday, the men, known better as “El Pibe” and Uribe, brought their talents to Paterson’s Baurele Field.

The rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the nearly 500 fans who turned out to watch these beloved players ...

La campaña alimentaria anual de los carteros está lista para el 12 de mayo en todo el país

May 11, 2018

WASHINGTON, 2 de mayo de 2018 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- La Asociación Nacional de Carteros (National Association of Letter Carriers, NALC) llevará a cabo la 26ª edición anual de su campaña alimentaria el sábado 12 de mayo.

La campaña alimentaria Stamp Out Hunger® es la más grande con duración de un día en todo ...

Featured Business: NJ Printing & Embroidery LLC

Featured Business: NJ Printing & Embroidery LLC

Nestled in the heart of Plainfield is NJ Printing & Embroidery, a family-owned business providing digital screen printing and embroidery for custom shirts, caps and other items.

The company also offers custom printed business cards, fliers, banners and storefront vinyls, and can provide expert graphic art design upon request.

Eric ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

'The Sting' with Harry Connick Jr. Slithers and Shakes at Paper Mill

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and Chicago.  Scott Joplin’s music is intertwined with the show, especially “The ...

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

The Man in Room 306 at the Luna Stage, West Orange, NJ

            The Luna Stage, a Jersey theater gem, chose to revive its 1995 world premiere drama, The Man in Room 306, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Starring Jamil A.C. Mangan as Dr. King, this 90 minute production portrays Dr. King in the last hours of his life as he struggles to write a speech for the Poor ...

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead Books, 2017)

 

I wanted to like Into the Water by Paula Hawkins because I had enjoyed her previous novel, The Girl on the Train, which was a suspenseful thriller. However, when I finished reading the first part of the Into the Water, I realized that I had not absorbed anything that was happening in the story. I blamed myself for not paying ...

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (Citadel Press, 1970)

 

How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

The Truth About My Reading

I didn't get my Composition and Literature teacher at Montclair State College at all. A crusty old man with a dour disposition, Mr. Smith always seemed angry and rude. He appropriately intimidated freshmen, even me, an English major, who found this common core course beneath my dignity. Frankly, as a graduate of Highland Park High School, and a survivor of Mrs.

The German Girl

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa (Washington Square Press, 2016)

For each of the twelve million victims murdered during World War II there is a gutwrenching story to be told. I have read hundreds of memoirs, biographies, plays, and novels that recount the stories of the martyrs; some are exceptional, some are fair. The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa, an award-winning journalist, ...