A Prince George’s County, Maryland, man, who was a member of La Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), was sentenced to 28 years in prison for his part in two murders and a broad racketeering conspiracy.
Officials said 25-year-old Franklyn Edgardo Sanchez was a member of a local segment of MS-13 — Weedams Locos Salvatrucha (WLS), which operates in Adelphi — from August 2018 through July 2021.
Two years into his membership with WLS, on Feb. 23, 2020, Sanchez and another member Hernan Yanes-Rivera said a gang leader told them to shoot and kill a former leader who they believed was working with law enforcement.
The Department of Justice said Sanchez’s decision to go through with murdering the unidentified victim allowed him to move up through organizational ranks. MS-13 members are often expected to attack and kill rival gang members when possible if they want to move up in the gang.
“Participation in criminal activity by a member, particularly in violent acts directed at rival gangs or as directed by gang leadership, increases the respect accorded to that member, resulting in that member maintaining or increasing his position in the gang and opens the door to promotion to a leadership position,” a news release stated.
Officials said on Aug. 8, 2020, Sanchez joined several other members in agreeing to murder another victim who they believed was working with police. According to the Justice Department, Sanchez also owed the victim a debt.
A leader of the MS-13 group, Brayan Alexander Torres, lied to the second victim, saying he should come to the woods to discipline Sanchez when, in reality, the group planned to murder him. When the victim arrived, officials said Sanchez and another member shot then stabbed him.
Torres also told other members, including Agustino Eugenio Rivas Rodriguez, to help dig a hole and bury the victim.
Throughout his time in the organization, officials said Sanchez was laundering an unknown amount of money to MS-13 members and associates residing in El Salvador.
Based on a plea agreement, Torres is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 31. Yanes-Rivera faces a 22-year prison sentence at his July 28 hearing, while Rivas Rodriguez faces 16 years in prison on July 21.