The leader of MS-13’s Eastside Loco Salvatrucha (ESLS) clique was sentenced last week at federal court in Boston for RICO conspiracy.
Edwin Guzman, a/k/a “Playa,” 32, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 16 years in prison and three years of supervised release. In February 2018, Guzman and two other MS-13 members, Herzzon Sandoval, a/k/a “Casper,” 36, and Erick Argueta Larios, a/k/a “Lobo,” 33, were convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy. A fourth MS-13 member, Cesar Martinez, a/k/a “Cheche,” 37, was convicted at the same trial of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.
According to court documents, MS-13 was identified as a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches, or “cliques,” operate throughout the United States, including in Massachusetts. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence, specifically against rival gang members, to gain membership in and be promoted within the gang. Guzman and Sandoval were the leaders, also known as the “first word,” and “second word,” of the ESLS clique in Massachusetts.
On Sept. 20, 2015, Joel Martinez, a/k/a “Animal,” murdered a 15-year-old boy in East Boston. On Jan. 8, 2016, as a reward for the 2015 murder, Joel Martinez was promoted by the gang to “homeboy” status with a 13-second beat-in by other MS-13 members at an ESLS meeting that Guzman, Sandoval, Martinez and Argueta Larios attended.
In May 2018, Joel Martinez was sentenced to 40 years in prison and two years of supervised release after pleading guilty to RICO conspiracy involving murder. In October 2018, Sandoval was sentenced to 20 years in prison and two years of supervised release. Argueta Larios and Martinez are scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 19, 2018, and Nov. 28, 2018, respectively.
Guzman was one of 49 defendants convicted as part of this case. All nine defendants who went to trial were convicted and 40 others pleaded guilty. In all, 16 defendants, including Joel Martinez, were found to have committed or knowingly participated in murders.