Gang Leader Sentenced to Life Behind Bars

( – A notorious MS-13 gang leader, Melvin Canales, was sentenced to life in prison on May 1 at Alexandria’s US District Court for numerous murders that were carried out around Washington, DC, on his orders. U.S. prosecutors explained that while the gang leader ordered some of its hitmen to work harder to find members of MS-13’s main rival gangs in the area, they couldn’t find many and started to kill civilians as a way to show results.

Prosecutors added that during the time of the killings in 2019, which were four in total, the police officers described the DC area as a dangerous “hunting ground” because of the way MS-13 was killing random people. They also explained that many officers were surprised by these killings as MS-13 hitmen typically killed members of rival gangs or MS-13 members who were cooperating with police.

MS-13 is a Salvadorian gang known for its brutality and its operations in the drug trade not only in El Salvador and other nations in Central America but also in the United States. Over the last few years, the criminal gang has been severely hit by the government of Salvadorian President Nayib Bukele, which has shown a hardline stance against organized crime in his country.

In a statement, prosecutors explained that Canales was the gang’s second-ranking member in the DC sub-unit, which had a significant presence in Virginia’s northern region. They also revealed that the first civilian killed by the gang in the case was Eric Tate, who was shot and left to bleed to death while walking to meet with a girl he was dating. The second victim was named Antonio Smith, and he was shot to death as he was going to his department from a bodega. The third and fourth victims were Milton Bertram and Jairo Mayorga.

In addition to Canales, authorities convicted MS-13 US leader Marvin Gutierrez and three other gang members for the killing of the four innocents.

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