Two alleged MS-13 members from Salisbury indicted on racketeering charges

Published 9:22 am Wednesday, May 8, 2024

CHARLOTTE — Two alleged members of the La Mara Salvartrucha, or MS-13 gang, with Salisbury ties have been indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on federal charges.

The indictments for racketeering conspiracy of 26-year-old Fredy Mauricio Buruca and 30-year-old Juan Francisco Sanchez Estrada, both of Salisbury, were returned by a grand jury on April 16 and unsealed on Tuesday, according to a release from the DOJ. Also included in the indictment were 32-year-old Annapolis, Maryland, resident Santos Guillermo Ramirez Mancia and 26-year-old El Salvador resident Luis Fernando Guardardo Moreno.

Charges for murder in aid of racketeering activity were also given to 31-year-old Christian Alejandro Garcia Santa Cruz and 30-year-old Aderly Jose Veliz-Ronquillo, both of Annapolis.

“Street gangs threaten the well-being of our communities and spread violence, fear and intimidation. Our coordinated law enforcement efforts prioritize the investigation and prosecution of dangerous gangs to dismantle their operations and disrupt their criminal activities,” said Dena King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

According to the allegations, the defendants were all leaders and members of an MS-13 clique known as the Hollywood Locos Salvadorians Clique which operated around the Western District of North Carolina and in other areas in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and further, according the release.

The charges stem from actions from December 2018 through November 2022. During that time, Buruca and Estrada, along with the other defendants, were allegedly involved in racketeering activity that consisted of multiple acts and threats involving murder, kidnapping, extortion, robbery and drug trafficking. These actions were sanctioned by MS-13 leadership in order to create fear and intimidation within the gang, to maintain the gang’s control of its territory and expand it, to enforce discipline within the gang and punish disrespect, to intimidate witnesses and discourage cooperation with law enforcement and to retaliate against rivals, according to the release.

Both Buruca and Estrada are currently in state detention facilities after they were convicted robbery with a dangerous weapon in 2023, for an incident on Feb. 19, 2022.

The charges are the result of investigations involving the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, the Kannapolis Police Department, the Monroe Police Department, the Prince William County Sheriff’s Office and the Annapolis Police Department all assisted with the case, according to the release.

A request for comment on possible MS-13 gang activity was not returned by Salisbury officials before the Salisbury Post deadline.