Law & the Courts

Nine MS-13 Members Indicted in Murders, Kidnappings in Nashville

A migrant from Central America, who border patrol agents suspected was a member of MS-13, is handcuffed after being apprehended with a group of men who crossed into the United States from Mexico in La Joya, Texas, May 8, 2019. (Adrees Latif/Reuters)

A federal grand jury in Nashville has indicted nine MS-13 gang members in multiple alleged crimes including seven murders, kidnappings, assaults, robberies and drug distribution, officials announced on Wednesday.

All nine people are in federal custody, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of Tennessee. Those charged face anywhere between decades to life in prison if convicted.

According to Diario El Heraldo in Honduras, seven of those charged are from Honduras, including Carlos Ochoa-Martinez, 31, aka “El Serio”; Jason Sandoval, 35, aka “Bin Laden”; Jorge Flores, 29, aka “Peluche”; Kevin Tidwell, 28, aka “Miklo”; Jose Pineda-Caceres, 22, aka “Demente”; Franklin Hernandez, 22, aka “Happy”; and Luis Colindres, 24, aka “Listo.”

Gerson Serrano-Ramirez, 34, of El Salvador, and Juan Melendez, of Lebanon, Tenn. were charged as well.

The charges come as part of a 60-count, second superseding indictment involving an MS-13 gang sub-unit operated in Nashville since at least 2014, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Pineda-Caceresa is accused in the homicides of Jorge Alejandro Potter Alvarado and Liliana Rodriguez. 

Alvarado, 19, was shot to death in a Nashville field in April 2016, while Rodriguez, 18, was fatally shot in July 2016 in the back seat of a Ford Mustang driven by her brother on Interstate 24, according to the Tennessean.

Flores and Tidwell are accused in the homicides of Ammerli Jose Garcia-Munoz and Jesus Alberto Flores.

In May 2017, 25-year-old Garcia-Munoz was shot and killed in a strip mall parking lot. Alberto Flores, 24, was shot and killed on Antioch Pike that same month.

Colindres is accused in the homicides of Yeri Hernandez Gabino, 29, and Hector Jose Pagada, 34, both of whom died from multiple gunshot wounds in an apartment complex parking lot.

Jorge Flores, Hernandez and Colindres are accused in the death of a person who was shot and killed in September 2017 and placed in the trunk of a car that was set on fire. 

“MS-13 is one of the most violent, ruthless and cold-blooded gangs to ever walk the face of the Earth,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Mary Jane Stewart said this week.

Stewart announced the indictment alongside several other officials, including Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice Criminal Division Kenneth Polite Jr. and Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake.

“Without a doubt, Nashville is safer today because of the work of our detectives and our state and federal counterparts,” Drake said during the briefing.

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