MS-13 Gang Sweep in Ohio, Indiana Nets 13 Arrests (Multi-Video)

Thirteen individuals alleged to be members and associates of MS-13 were arrested in Central Ohio and Indiana Tuesday morning.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman of the Southern District of Ohio, Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers of the FBI, Detroit Field Office Director Rebecca Adducci of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations, Sheriff Dallas Baldwin of Franklin County and Chief Kim Jacobs of Columbus Police announced the indictment that was unsealed following the arrests today.

Federal charges were filed against a total of 15 alleged MS-13 members.

  • Ten were charged by a federal grand jury with conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to commit money laundering and use of a firearm during a crime of violence in an indictment returned on July 27.
  • Five others were charged in criminal complaints with reentering the U.S. after deportation.
  • Two of the 15 remain fugitives.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

“With more than 10,000 members across 40 states, MS-13 is one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the United States today,” said Attorney General Sessions.

“MS-13 members have killed children and pregnant women, extorted immigrant-owned businesses, and trafficked underage girls to sell them for sex.

“President Trump has ordered the Department of Justice to reduce crime and take down transnational criminal organizations, and we will be relentless in our pursuit of these objectives.”

“Today’s charges are our next step toward making this country safer by taking MS-13 off of our streets for good.”

(White House focuses on efforts to combat MS-13 gang violence. Courtesy of CBS News and YouTube. Posted on Jul 27, 2017)

MS-13, formally La Mara Salvatrucha, is a multi-national criminal organization composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

The organization’s leadership is based in El Salvador, where many of the gang’s high-ranking members are imprisoned.

In 2012, the U.S. government designated MS-13 as a “transnational criminal organization.”  It is the first and only street gang to receive that designation.

MS-13 has become one of the largest and most violent criminal organizations in the U.S., with more than 10,000 members and associates operating in at least 40 states, including Ohio.

In Ohio and elsewhere in the U.S., MS-13 is organized into “cliques,” which are smaller groups of MS-13 members and associates acting under the larger mantle of the organization and operating in a specific region, city or part of a city.

(MS-13 is associated with a spate of brutal and violent killings. How did the gang originate, and how widespread are its members? Courtesy of Fox News and YouTube. Posted on Jul 19, 2017)

The indictment alleges that 10 defendants – members and associates of the Columbus clique of MS-13 – conspired to commit extortion through the use of threatened or actual force, violence or fear to intimidate their victims into paying money to the defendants and their co-conspirators.

Many of the proceeds were sent, usually by wire transfer and often through intermediaries, to MS-13 members and associates in El Salvador and elsewhere.

The money was then used to promote and facilitate the criminal activities of MS-13 in El Salvador and the U.S.

As part of the alleged conspiracy, the defendants and their co-conspirators unlawfully obtained extortion proceeds to be used to, among other things:

  • Buy items that MS-13 uses to engage in criminal activity, such as cellular phones, narcotics and weapons
  • Provide financial support and information to MS-13 members, including those incarcerated in El Salvador and the U.S., as well as those who have been deported, and
  • Aid families of deceased MS-13 members


Courtesy of the Department of Justice

The 10 defendants charged in the indictment are:

Name Also Known As Age City
Jose Martin Neftali Aguilar-Rivera Momia, Pelon 32 Columbus, Ohio/ Indianapolis, Ind.
Pedro Alfonso Osorio-Flores Smokey 38 Columbus, Ohio
Juan Jose Jiminez-Montufar Chele Trece 33 Columbus, Ohio
Isaias Alvarado Cabo 44 Columbus, Ohio
Cruz Alberto-Arbarngas Cruzito 30 Columbus, Ohio
*Jose Manuel Romero-Parada Russo 22 Fugitive – Indianapolis, Ind.
Jose Salinas-Enriquez Martillo 32 Dayton, Ohio
Jorge Cazares Veneno 37 Columbus, Ohio
Jose Ramiro Aparicio-Olivares Flaco 42 Columbus, Ohio
*Nelson Alexander Flores Mula 46 Fugitive – whereabouts unknown


Conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to commit money laundering are each crimes punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence carries a sentence of at least seven years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed in the case.

The five defendants charged with immigration offenses in criminal complaints are:

Name Also Known As Age City
Antonio Galdamez-Figueroa Pinochio 29 Columbus, Ohio
Juan Pablo Flores-Castro Duende 29 Columbus, Ohio
Jorge Alberto Landaverde Grenas 33 Columbus, Ohio
Juan Jose Alvarenga-Alberto Sailen 27 Columbus, Ohio
Marvin Otero-Serrano Vaca 31 Columbus, Ohio


Illegally re-entering the U.S. after having been previously deported is a crime punishable by up to two years in prison.

Attorney General Sessions and U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI, ICE, Columbus, Police and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, and the assistance of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian J. Martinez and Jessica H. Kim, who are prosecuting the case.


An indictment or criminal complaint merely contains allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

If you are a victim of the alleged crimes, or have additional information about MS-13, please call the FBI hotline at 614-849-1765. Callers can remain anonymous.