MS-13 members sentenced for role RICO conspiracy

By: Staff Reports

Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2008 12:36 am

Three members of La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, have been sentenced here for their participation in a racketeering enterprise, it was announced Tuesday.

The three, Ernesto Isai Mendez-Tovar, a.k.a. “Joker,” Eliseo Iglesias, a.k.a. “Smokey,” and David Alexander Gonzalez, a.k.a. “Psycho,” were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell of the Middle District of Tennessee, acting Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Matthew Friedrich and U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Edward M. Yarbrough announced.

On Oct. 3, Mendez-Tovar was sentenced to 13 years in prison and five years of supervised release; on Oct. 6, Iglesias was sentenced to 210 months in prison and three years of supervised release; and Tuesday Gonzalez was given a sentence of 235 months in prison and five years of supervised release.

Mendez-Tovar pleaded guilty to a federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (or RICO) charge, which alleged that he and others involved in the MS-13 gang conspired to participate in a pattern of racketeering activity in the Metro Nashville area, including murder, attempted murder and witness tampering.

In addition, the indictment stated that on Jan. 20, Mendez-Tovar and another MS-13 member shot and killed an individual who reportedly disrespected the MS-13 gang.

The RICO charge to which Iglesias and Gonzalez pleaded guilty charged that each defendant, along with others, were involved in the MS-13 gang which conspired to participate in a pattern of racketeering activity in the Nashville area.

Including the three Tuesday sentences, 10 defendants have now been sentenced on RICO charges stemming from an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Nashville on Jan. 10, 2007, the U.S. Attorney’s office reported.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmie Lynn Ramsaur of the Middle District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney John Han from the Criminal Division’s Gang Squad.

The case was investigated by the Criminal Division’s Gang Squad; the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Tennessee; the Metro Police Department’s Gang Suppression Unit; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and the Davidson County District Attorney General’s Office.

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