MS-13 member admits to fatal shooting of 15-year-old
By: SCOTT MCCABE
Examiner Staff Writer
September 2, 2009
A member of a violent Hispanic street gang pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing a teenager in a gang-related dispute at a Prince George's County strip mall.
Jorge Rigorberto Amador, 33, admitted in federal court in Greenbelt to racketeering charges, including squeezing the trigger of the gun used to slay 15-year-old Jose Manuel Arias in 2005. Amador is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 9 and faces life in prison.
Prosecutors said Amador, whose street name is Santa Diablo (or Saint Devil), was a member of the La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, comprised mostly of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador and boasting a huge presence throughout Prince George's and Montgomery counties. Amador moved from the Langley Park Salvatruchas clique to the Hollywood Locos Salvatruchas clique of MS-13.
On March 26, 2005, MS-13 members searching for their rivals spotted members of the 18th Street Gang and contacted Amador and another leader to help confront them. Amador admitted in court that he drove up to a car containing young men, pulled out a .38-caliber revolver wrapped in a dark bandana and fired several shots, killing Arias. Amador met up with other rivals and they discussed how to get rid of the gun and car.
Amador also admitted that he went to a nightclub in Langley Park and hit and injured a member of the rival gang with a broken beer bottle. Two days later, Amador and another large group of MS-13 members attended the Hispanic Heritage Festival in Hyattsville, where they chased down a a teenager who wore a No. 18 sports jersey, which is often used to signify an affiliation with the 18th Street Gang. A running fight ensued throughout the park, terrorizing festivalgoers, with Amador and others seriously injuring the father of the teen who wore the jersey.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland so far has charged 51 MS-13 members with various federal offenses. Twenty-four members have been convicted and 19 have pleaded guilty to other charges, primarily immigration or gun violations. The remainder are awaiting trial.
Gangs are the heart of violent crime in Salvador, Central America
(AFP) – 12 hours ago
SAN SALVADOR — Violent gangs known here as "maras" have thousands of members in El Salvador, a bloody hand in 60 percent of murders, and are active in extorsion, drug dealing and arms trafficking, authorities say.
Every day, about 12 people are murdered in El Salvador, a small densely populated country.
On Wednesday, Franco-Spanish filmmaker Christian Poveda, 54, was found shot to death near his vehicle on a road north of the capital, a National Civil Police spokesman told AFP.
He had been filming in La Campanera, a suburb controlled by drug gangs known as "maras," before his death.
Investigators said it is not clear whether he was the victim of a robbery or been killed by some of the very gang members whose lives he had meticulously documented.
The gangs with the deepest ranks are Mara Salvatrucha (Salvadoran Gang) also known as MS-13 and its archrival Mara 18 or M-18. Together they have about 11,000 members, though police say the number might be as high as 18,000.
Gangs arose in this impoverished country of about seven million during the lawlessness of the civil war, from 1980-1992, as local groups battled for turf from city neighborhoods to mountain villages.
Early gangs such as Mara Maquina, Mara Gallo and La Fosa often specilized in holdups to steal cash.
But then the civil war sent thousands of Salvadorans into exile in the United States. Some picked up new tricks on the streets of Los Angeles.
A new gang was born in the 1980s when groups of Latin American migrants -- most from Mexico and some from Central America -- formed Mara 18. Its name comes from 18th Street in Los Angeles.
Then Salvadorans and other immigrants from Guatemala and Honduras founded Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13, which gets its name from Los Angeles' 13th Street.
After the end of the civil war in 1992, many Salvadorans began to be deported from the United States, including gang members with criminal records.
Once in El Salvador, deported gangsters started to form local units of Mara Salvatrucha or Mara 18, recruiting young people in very poor neighborhoods and edging out local gangs.
According to Poveda, whose documentary "La vida loca" will premiere in France September 30, the maras have 50,000 members in the United States, 35,000 in Honduras, 15,000 in Guatemala and 15,000 in El Salvador.
In April 2005, Central American nations, Mexico and the United States held a summit on how to counter the gangs.
But results have been less than impressive. And non-governmental organizations often criticize governments for hardline crackdowns that fail to get to the social and economic roots of the problem.