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Seven MS-13 members charged with double murder inside Federal Penitentiary in Beaumont, Texas resulting in nationwide lockdown of Federal Prison system

BEAUMONT, Texas – A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas returned an indictment this week in Beaumont charging seven inmates at U.S. Penitentiary Beaumont, who are members of the violent transnational criminal organization La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13, for their involvement in a deadly prison attack on rival gang members on Jan. 31, 2022.  All seven defendants are in federal custody. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas Brit Featherston, along with FBI Houston SAC James Smith, Homeland Security Investigations Houston SAC Mark Dawson, and Joint Task Force Vulcan Director (JTFV) John J. Durham, announced today the charges in the 15-count indictment against the MS-13 members identified below.  The charges in the Indictment relate to the planning and execution of a violent attack orchestrated by members of MS-13 against Mexican Mafia and Sureños associates that resulted in two deaths, two attempted murders, and a nationwide lockdown of all inmates in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for almost a week.

“Deterring prison violence remains a priority for the Department,” said Eastern District of Texas U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston.  “Any prisoner who causes physical injury to another, inmate or corrections officer, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” 

“Disrupting dangerous plots that can arise from gangs like MS-13 in the federal prison system, as alleged in today’s indictment, is a matter of utmost importance for the FBI and to me personally as a former supervisory special agent for the MS-13 National Gang Task Force Unit in the Criminal Investigative Division at Headquarters,” said FBI Houston SAC James Smith.  “The FBI served as a force multiplier and the lead investigative agency for this case immediately following the murders. In support of this massive investigation, we completed over 100 interviews, conducted over 60 searches, reviewed hours of surveillance footage, and seized countless weapons and contraband. The FBI remains resolute in our commitment to continue working side by side with our law enforcement partners to defeat and deter gang violence anywhere it occurs.”

“Transnational violent gangs are a significant threat to our national security whether they are entrenched within our communities or incarcerated in our correctional facilities,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson. “This indictment demonstrates our commitment to disrupting and dismantling this threat.”

“Even while incarcerated, MS-13 members remain committed to the organization’s violent ideology and, as alleged in this indictment, continue to engage in extreme acts of murder and attempted murder,” stated Director Durham.  “The Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners will not yield, and we will hold MS-13 members accountable for their crimes, whether in prisons or on the street.”  Director Durham extended his sincere appreciation to all members of JTFV, especially the FBI, HSI and BOP’s National Gang Unit, who spearheaded this investigation.

As alleged in the indictment unsealed today:

MS-13 is a transnational criminal organization composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, but also includes members from other countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. Although the gang originated in Los Angeles, California, it quickly spread and is now a national and international criminal organization with an estimated 10,000+ members regularly conducting gang activities in nearly all of the United States, including Texas, California, New York, and in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.

The Mexican Mafia controls large portions of the Hispanic prison population in California and Texas and the federal prison system. MS-13 has had a symbiotic relationship with both the Mexican Mafia and the Sureños, which is a close association of Hispanic gangs that pay tribute to the Mexican Mafia while incarcerated in federal and state prisons in the United States. As alleged in the Indictment, however, that symbiotic relationship recently began to fall apart as MS-13’s leadership in El Salvador, the Ranfla Nacional, sought to exert more control and independence of its own members while incarcerated in prisons within the United States, including using MS-13 command and control structure to enforce their orders, including orders to commit murders, even while in prison.

 On Jan. 31, 2022, at USP Beaumont, seven MS-13 members, converged in A-A Housing Unit and attacked multiple Sureños members and one Mexican Mafia associate.  Defendant Rivas-Moreiera began the prison attack when he came up behind Guillermo Riojas and stabbed Riojas twice in the chest.  Riojas fell immediately, and other MS-13 defendants stabbed and kicked Riojas while he lay motionless on the prison floor.  The MS-13 defendants then chased, cornered, beat, and repeatedly stabbed Andrew Pineda, and other Sureños members.  The prison attack lasted approximately three minutes.

Defendants Rivas-Moreiera, Alfaro-Granado, and Landaverde-Giron are all serving sentences of life imprisonment for their participation in MS-13 and committing murder in aid of racketeering in furtherance of MS-13.  Defendant Ramires is also serving a sentence of 27 years’ imprisonment following his conviction for participating in MS-13 and committing a murder on behalf of the gang.

The Victims:

Riojas died as a result of the prison attack.  He was inflicted with multiple stab wounds to his heart and lung.  Likewise, Pineda died as a result of the prison attack.  He suffered more than 45 distinct stab wounds to his body.  Sureños member 1 was stabbed multiple times and taken to a hospital by emergency services as a result of the prison attack.  Sureños member 2 was also stabbed numerous times.  Both victims ultimately survived the attack by the MS-13 defendants.

This indictment is the product of coordination between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX) and Joint Task Force Vulcan (JTFV), which was created in August 2019 as a whole-of-government approach to dismantle transnational criminal organizations, such as MS-13. Since its creation, JTFV has successfully increased coordination and collaboration with foreign law enforcement partners, including El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala; designating priority MS-13 programs, cliques and leaders, who have the most impact on the United States, for targeted prosecutions; and coordinating significant MS-13 indictments in U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country, including the first use of national security charges against MS-13 leaders, such as the Ranfla Nacional, in El Salvador. JTFV has been comprised of members from U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country, including EDTX; the Eastern District of New York; the Southern District of New York; the District of New Jersey; the Northern District of Ohio; the District of Utah; the Eastern District of Virginia; the District of Massachusetts; the District of Alaska; the Southern District of Florida; the Southern District of California; the District of Nevada; and the District of Columbia, as well as the Department of Justice’s National Security Division and the Criminal Division. In addition, all Department of Justice law enforcement agencies are involved in the effort, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Marshals Service; and the Bureau of Prisons. In addition, Homeland Security Investigations also plays a critical role in JTFV.

The charges announced today are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison, and the defendants are eligible for the death penalty.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Batte from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for EDTX, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher A. Eason for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for EDTX and from JTFV, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Warren for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and from JTFV, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stewart M. Young for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah and from JTFV. The charges in the indictment were investigated by the FBI and the BOP.

 The Defendants:

Juan Carlos Rivas-Moreiera, aka “Juan Carlos Moriera,” aka “Stocky”

Age: 41

Place of Birth: El Salvador

United States District Court of Prosecution:  District of Maryland

Dimas Alfaro-Granado, aka “Toro”

Age: 39

Place of Birth: El Salvador

United States District Court of Prosecution:  Northern District of Georgia

Raul Landaverde-Giron, aka “Decente,” aka “Humilde”

Age: 32

Place of Birth:  El Salvador

United States District Court of Prosecution:  District of Maryland

Larry Navarete, aka “El Socio”

Age: 41

Place of Birth:  Nicaragua

United States District Court of Prosecution:  Western District of Arkansas

Jorge Parada, aka “Rama”

Age: 42

Place of Birth:  El Salvador

United States District Court of Prosecution:  Eastern District of Virginia

Hector Ramires, aka “Cuervo”

Age: 28

Place of Birth:  Honduras

United States District Court of Prosecution:  District of Massachusetts

Sergio Sibrian, aka “Anytime”

Age: 29

Place of Birth:  El Salvador

United States District Court of Prosecution:  Central District of California