A member of MS-13 pleaded guilty on Friday, Sept. 30, at Boston Federal Court in connection with the stabbing of a rival gang member in Chelsea in December 2015.
Mauricio Sanchez, also known as “Tigre,” 29, of Chelsea, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as racketeering conspiracy. U.S. District Court Judge Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Dec. 22, 2016.
After a three-year investigation, Sanchez was one of 61 persons named in a January 2016 superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) in Massachusetts. As alleged in court documents, MS-13 was identified as a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches or “cliques” operate throughout the United States, including in the District of Massachusetts. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence to maintain membership and discipline within the group. Specifically, MS-13 members are required to attack and murder gang rivals whenever possible.
In court filings and at the Sept. 30 plea hearing, Sanchez was identified as a member of MS-13’s Eastside Loco Salvatrucha (ESLS) clique. As an ESLS member, Sanchez “jumped in” new members and paid dues to fund MS-13 activities in Massachusetts and in El Salvador. As part of his plea agreement, Sanchez admitted that he and other MS-13 members stabbed a gang rival, believed to be a member of 18th Street, near Bellingham Square in Chelsea on Dec. 27, 2015.
The charging statute provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Sanchez is the sixth defendant to plead guilty. Other defendants pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and immigration offenses.