A 22-year-old Baltimore man was sentenced to 37 years in federal prison yesterday for his involvement in a violent MS-13 gang that prosecutors have linked to six slayings in Maryland and one in Virginia, the U.S. attorney's office said.
A jury had convicted Oscar Ramos Velasquez of Baltimore and Edgart Alberto Ayala, 29, of Suitland after a six-week trial in Greenbelt. Both were found guilty of several counts that include murder in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise and using firearms in crimes of violence.
"This sentence should send a message to any violent gang member that your acts of violence may have earned you a membership in MS-13, but they will also earn you accommodations inside a prison cell," said Gregory K. Gant, the special agent in charge of the Baltimore field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Prosecutors said the trial showed that Velasquez was among several leaders of the gang that worked in Prince George's and Montgomery counties and enforced rules using guns, baseball bats, machetes, knives and bottles. The prosecutors said victims included gang rivals, people trying to get out of the gang and girlfriends of rival gang members.
Ayala was sentenced to 35 years in prison on June 1. Prosecutors said that 42 MS-13 gang members have been charged with various federal offenses as part of a crackdown in the Washington suburbs. Prosecutors said that 14 have been convicted as part of the racketeering case.