The US Supreme Court this week rejected David "Cilindro" Lopez's appeal of his sentence for being a leader of a Chelsea MS-13 gang - and for trying really hard to kill a rival - which means he gets to stay behind bars until 2033.
Lopez pleaded guilty to RICO violations in 2017. At issue in his appeal was if he deserved his 20-year sentence, which hinged on the question of whether he was a "manager" of the organization, which would mean an increase in the equation used to determine his sentence. Federal prosecutors argued - and a judge agreed - that he was a manager when he and another member were foiled by the skilled work of Mass. General surgeons, who saved a rival the two tried to kill on May 29, 2014 in Chelsea.
In his appeal - which the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston rejected in April - Lopez's attorney argued that the 25-year-old wasn't really a "manager" at the time because he had yet to ascend to an MS-13 rank from which it draws its leaders.
But prosecutors noted that even without the official status, Lopez had already taken over day-to-day operations of the Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha "clique" after its leader was arrested and put behind bars.
Lopez shot the rival point-blank in the chest several times after another MS-13 member had stabbed the man 21 times. The victim was rushed to Mass. General, where surgeons saved his life.
Lopez fled to New Jersey but came back to Chelsea to help plot the murder of an MS-13 member suspected of snitching - an incorrect assumption, at least at the time.
Despite the fact the stabbing/shooting victim did not die, MS-13 leaders promoted Lopez from "chequeo" - sort of a hanger on, but not allowed to make any decisions - to "homeboy," the top rung under each local gang's leadership.
In its decision earlier this year, the Court of Appeals concluded that Lopez's "role in the overarching conspiracy" meant he was, under the statute, a manager of the group no matter what MS-13 rules might say and therefore could receive a higher score in the equation used by judges to determine sentences for his role in the failed murder attempt.
Lopez was one of 61 MS-13 members rounded up in 2016 after three teenagers were murdered in East Boston.