BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. – Federal officials have said that six of the seven suspects accused of fatally stabbing a 21-year-old man are allegedly party of the deadly MS-13 gang, according to a report from Fox News.
Authorities also said that those suspects are living in the country illegally.
Baltimore police said that the seven suspects took part in a July group stabbing that left 21-year-old Daniel Alejandro Alvarado Cuellar dead.
A 16-year-old that was accused of being part of the murder is being tried as an adult, sources say.
The original incident occurred on July 31 when police discovered Cuellar’s body lying in the grass outside of a Baltimore apartment. Baltimore County Police said that the victim had “multiple sharp-force injuries” to his body, which ultimately led to his death.
Investigators say it was a planned attack in a gang-related retaliation kill. They say the group was watching Cuellar and tracking his movements before unleashing their brutal attack.
“We know this group of individuals was conducting surveillance on him, they were watching him, following him. We know they watched as he left the laundromat and went back across the street to the apartment complex and that is where some of those individuals accosted him,” Baltimore County Police Officer Jennifer Peach said in an interview with FOX45. “We know they used knives and multiple people stabbed him multiple times.”
Police identified the suspects as Jonathan Escobar-Hernandez, 20, of Towson, Md.; Marlon Leonardo Fabian-Flores, 20, of Manchester, Md.; Edwin Edgardo Garcia-Martir, 18, of Middle River, Md.; Hugo Portillo-Chavez, 31, of Cockeysville, Md.; Jose Fausto Rivera-Coreas, 19, of Cockeysville, Md.; Odaliz Rosas-Yanez, 20, of Cockeysville, Md.; and Leonel Alexander Velasquez-Hernadez, 16, of Cockeysville, Md.
Each of those suspects, including the 16-year-old, have been charged with first-degree murder. Now, federal immigration officials have confirmed that the agency has placed detainer requests on six of those suspects. Only one of the seven suspects was a citizen of the U.S.
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Of the six suspects, who were not identified by name, five are Salvadoran and one is Mexican, ICE said. A search into their database showed officials that all each of the six were identified as members of the notorious MS-13 gang.
Investigators believe that the murder occurred due to a gang war that’s been escalating between two Latino street gangs – MS-13 and 18th Street. After Cuellar was supposedly seen making hand gestures “indicative of an affiliation with the 18th Street,” the group went after him in a vicious attack.
“Seven suspects linked to the death of a 21-year-old Baltimore County resident were charged Tuesday with first-degree murder.” Maryland Gang War: Seven MS-13 Members Charged With Murder of Rival Gang Member https://t.co/moKp9TCwi4 via @SaraCarterDC
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) September 5, 2019
All seven suspects are being held in Baltimore County Detention Center without bail. Sources say that if convicted, each defendant could be sentenced to life in prison.
Authorities say that MS-13 is active in Maryland, but most incidents seem to stem from closer to the Washington D.C. area. The gang is known for its extremely violent tactics.
In a recent display of that “extremely violent behavior,” multiple MS-13 members allegedly killed a 14-year-old girl with a machete and a baseball bat.
An MS-13 “triggerman” on what it’s like to join the gang, and why he left: “I had to kill a lot of people” https://t.co/d2dY7ejmuY
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) September 5, 2019
That attack came shortly after a 16-year-old gang member had forces turn on him when he was stabbed over 100 times by fellow gang members, dumped on the side of the road and set on fire.
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The group reportedly has more than 10,000 active members nationwide. But officials say after a lapse in recruitment in 2018, the gang has set its sights on growing once again.
“We’ve seen a rise in gang activity here this spring. There have been a few homicides in the region, as you’ve seen,” Jay Lanham, director of the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force, told FOX5 in June. “Last year, we saw the gangs, especially MS-13, laying low. We arrested a lot of the program and clique leaders so their leadership was lacking.”
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