A federal jury today convicted Rafael "Tremendo" Leoner Aguirre, 22, on a variety of racketeering charges that could land him in prison for 20 years, the US Attorney's office in Boston reports.
Among the acts for which he was convicted: Two attempted murders, one in which he went after two rivals with a machete in Chelsea on April 6, 2014, the other in which he and other MS-13 members opened fire on two other men with guns, hitting one.
Prosecutors say that when Leoner Aguirre, then 19, moved to Chelsea a year after entering the US illegally from El Salvador, he organized a number of leaderless MS-13 members and wannabes into a full-fledged "clique" or gang, called Enfermos Criminal Salvatrucha, and promptly set them to attacking, fatally, if possible, members of rival gangs, such as the 18th Street Gang:
Even before arriving in Chelsea, Leoner Aguirre began recruiting and planning MS-13 activities. Among other things, Leoner Aguirre created recruitment videos for MS-13 and posted them on YouTube. This enabled younger members to view these videos, including one witness who testified that he first saw these videos while at a local high school. ...
More junior members of the Enfermos clique also committed a number of racketeering acts after Leoner Aguirre arrived in Massachusetts, including a shooting that resulted in the death of an innocent bystander.
Some 61 alleged MS-13 members were arrested in federal and local sweeps in 2016. Officials blame them for at least five murders, including those of several teenagers in East Boston.