An MS-13 member pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Boston in connection with a 2014 shooting in Chelsea and a 2015 conspiracy to kill a suspected cooperating witness.
David Lopez, a/k/a “Cilindro,” a/k/a “Villano,” 22, a Salvadoran national, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.
U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Jan. 30, 2018.
Lopez was a member of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha (ECS) clique, which operated in Chelsea and other parts of Massachusetts. On May 29, 2014, Lopez and co-defendant Daniel Menjivar, a/k/a “Roca,” approached a victim near the Washington Avenue bus stop in Chelsea. Menjivar repeatedly stabbed the victim, and as he was struggling for his life, Lopez approached and shot at the victim. The victim suffered significant life threatening injuries, but survived following emergency surgery.
Menjivar pleaded guilty in September 2017.
The investigation revealed that in March 2015, members of the ECS clique decided to kill a fellow MS-13 member who they incorrectly believed was cooperating with law enforcement at the time.
Law enforcement intervened and convinced the individual to become a cooperating witness. A subsequent investigation uncovered evidence that the ECS clique sent someone to New Jersey to pick up Lopez, who had fled Massachusetts after the May 2014 attack, so that he could come back to Massachusetts to help kill the suspected cooperating witness.
Lopez is the 23rd defendant to plead guilty in this case.
Lopez faces no greater than 20 years in prison and three years of supervised release. Lopez will be subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence. He is believed to be in the country illegally.