Green belt, Maryland – US District Judge Paula Xinis sentenced Luis Flores-Reyes, aka “Maloso”, “Lobo” and “Viejo Lovvon”, 42, of Arlington, Virginia and Jairo Jacome, aka “Abuelo”, “, 40, of Langley Park, Maryland, to life in prison on charges related to a racketeering enterprise known as La Mara Salvatrucha, or “MS-13.” Jacome and Flores-Reyes were convicted by a federal jury on September 29, 2022 of conspiracy conspiracy to commit racketeering and conspiracy to extort. The jury also found Flores-Reyes guilty of conspiracy to distribute drugs. Flores-Reyes was convicted yesterday and Jacome was sentenced today.
On January 12, 2023, Judge Xinis also sentenced co-defendant Brayan Contreras-Avalos, aka “Anonymous” and “Humilde,” 28, of Langley Park, Maryland, to life in prison for his participation in the same criminal conspiracy.
The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department; Special Agent in Charge Wayne Jacobs of the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Washington Field Office Criminal Division; Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino III of the Drug Enforcement Administration – New York Division; Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Chief Malik Aziz of the Prince George County Police Department; and Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department.
MS-13 is a national and international gang composed mainly 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. Jacome was the highest-ranking member of the local Langley Park Salvatrucha clique, or “LPS”. Flores-Reyes and Contreras-Avalos were leaders within the Sailors Clique, which held territories in Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Texas and El Salvador.
At all times in this conspiracy, MS-13 members were expected to protect the gang’s name, reputation and status and use any means necessary to compel the compliance of those who showed disrespect, including acts of intimidation and violence. One of the main rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, often referred to as “chavalas,” whenever possible. Participation in criminal activity by a member, especially in violent acts directed against rival gangs or as directed by gang leadership, enhances the respect accorded to that member, with the result that that member maintains or increases his position in the gang and opens the door to promotion to a leadership position.
As detailed during the trial, Flores-Reyes, Jacome and Contreras-Avalos participated in at least six homicides, including two minor victims, during the time of the conspiracy. Most of the victims were alleged gang rivals except for one minor victim. For example, in June 2016, MS-13 members, including Contreras-Avalos, stabbed to death two homeless people, who gang members believed were members of the 18th Street gang, in Hyattsville, Maryland. The investigation revealed no evidence that the victims were in fact gang members.
Among the most important rules of the MS-13 is the ban on talking to the police, embodied by the maxim ver, oir, y callar – see, hear and say nothing. The gang enforced this rule by placing a “green light” — an order to kill — on any member of MS-13 thought to be reporting on the gang. In December 2016, Jacome directed and participated in the murder of a 14-year-old MS-13 member suspected of talking to police. The boy’s remains were discovered more than 18 months later in a wooded area outside Germantown, Maryland.
Additionally, in March 2017, a member of the Sailors Clique, who was hiding from law enforcement in the Lynchburg, Virginia area after committing a 2016 murder in Gaithersburg, Maryland, got into a dispute with a student at local superiors on marijuana. In response, Flores-Reyes aided and abetted a team of MS-13 members to drive to Lynchburg and kill this high school student. The gang members kidnapped the student from his front lawn and cut off his hand before killing him. After the murder, Flores-Reyes helped hide and protect the killers from law enforcement.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, the defendants also operated an extortion scheme in and around Langley Park, extorting local businesses by charging them “rent” for the privilege of operating in MS-13 “territory.” . Flores-Reyes and Contreras-Avalos also trafficked in illegal drugs, including marijuana and cocaine. A large portion of the proceeds from the gang’s illegal activities were sent to the gang’s leadership in El Salvador to further promote the gang’s illegal activities, using structured transactions and intermediaries to avoid law enforcement scrutiny.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and serving communities to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for all. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective in reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses law enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and collaborates with locally based prevention and reintegration programs for lasting crime reduction.
This case is an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations threatening the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-led, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement against criminal networks.
Anyone with information about MS-13 is encouraged to provide their advice to law enforcement. The FBI and Homeland Security Investigations both have nationwide tips you can call to report what you know. You can contact the FBI at 1-866-STP-MS13 (1-866-787-6713), or you can call the HSI at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. praised the FBI, DEA, HSI, Prince George’s County Police Department, State Police Department Montgomery County, Virginia State Police, Lynchburg Police Department, Prince William County Police Department, Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, Bedford County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron and Mr. Polite thanked Assistant US Attorneys Timothy F. Hagan, Chris M. Sarma, William Moomau, Assistant Director Catherine Dick of the Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Justice and Attorney Alexander Gottfried of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice who prosecuted this case.
For more information about the Maryland US Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and the resources available to help the community, visit and
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