A multi-city raid on Friday led law enforcement officials to arrest 56 people connected to the national gang MS-13. In a 64-page federal indictment, officials linked members of the gang to five murders, including three in East Boston in recent months.
Those three homicides, all of teenage boys, were all killed allegedly because MS-13 leaders told lower ranking members they needed to commit violence to prove their worth to the group, according to the Boston Globe:
Wilson Martinez, 15, and Irvin de Paz, 16, were killed in September 2015 in East Boston after MS-13 leaders ordered subordinates to prove themselves worthy by murdering rivals, officials said. Cristofer Perez-De La Cruz, 16, was killed in January with a gun, knives, and a machete after MS-13 leaders in Virginia told leaders of local “cliques” that their crews needed to be more violent, according to court records.
Police Commissioner William B. Evans said the murders of rivals appeared to be based on MS-13’s orders for initiation rites for its members rather than retaliation. According to the indictment, young men were encouraged to commit murder in order to be promoted in the gang. “We’re talking real young victims here, and their families are still suffering,” Evans said.
Four people are accused of killing Perez-De la Cruz, according to the Globe:
East Boston residents Edwin Diaz, 18, and Edwin Gonzalez, 20, and Chelsea residents Marvin Melgar, 21, and Jairo Perez, 24. Gonzalez is also accused of participating in the murder of 15-year-old Wilson Martinez.
Days after that murder, the federal indictment alleges that Perez and 22-year-old Jose Vasquez, the leader of a local MS-13 group, tried to hide evidence by allegedly burying knives, a machete and bloody clothes.
The indictment also revealed that MS-13 allegedly began recruiting teens from local high schools in East Boston, as well as schools in Chelsea and Everett.