MS-13 Gang Members’ Federal Trial Gets Off to Grisly Start

WASHINGTON TIMES — One of the primary rules of the street gang MS-13 is not to talk to police. But a federal racketeering case brought against members of one of the most violent gangs in Northern Virginia is laying bare the extent of cooperation between its members and law enforcement.

When police received a tip about an MS-13 gang slaying set to take place in Woodbridge, Virginia, in October 2013, authorities knew they had good intelligence. A gang member was informing on the group and had agreed to wear a wire as he and others drove to Gar-Field High School, where they expected to attack their target with machetes and a sawed-off shotgun. Instead, the gang was met by law enforcement, who took them into custody.

But intel doesn’t always come in time to prevent gang violence in Northern Virginia. In two other instances, investigators were left putting informants to work to locate murder victims’ well-hidden graves.

Prosecutors described the scenarios Wednesday in opening trial arguments in a case that initially had charged 13 members of MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, with crimes including three murders and the attempted murder at Gar-Field.

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