Six of the seven people charged Tuesday in an July killing are members of MS-13, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say.
Of the six, five are Salvadoran and one is Mexican. All of them are in the country illegally, ICE spokeswoman Kate Pote said in an email. All six are identified in ICE gang databases as members of MS-13. After their arrests, ICE placed detainers on them.
Pote said she could not provide further information, citing privacy concerns.
Baltimore County police arrested Jonathan Escobar-Hernandez, Marlon Fabian-Flores, Edwin Garcia-Martir, Hugo Portillo-Chavez, Odaliz Rosas-Yanez and Leonal Velasquez-Hernandez in connection with the July 31 stabbing death of Daniel Cuellar.
Velasquez-Hernandez is 16, but is being charged as an adult in the case. He waived his rights and spoke to county police detectives at an ICE office in New Orleans, according to charging documents. He said he participated in surveillance that led to Cuellar's murder, police said in charging documents. Police said he pointed himself out in video surveillance footage.
All remain held without bail. Police believe Cuellar was the intended target of a planned murder, but the motive remains under investigation
MS-13, or La Mara Salvatrucha, was formed in Los Angeles in the 1980s by refugees from El Salvador and is linked to many slayings in certain parts of the U.S.
In July, four teens were indicted in the brutal beating death of 14-year-old Ariana Funes-Diaz. Prince George's County police said the teens were afraid she would alert authorities to an April gang-related kidnapping in Washington, D.C. In May, ICE sought to take custodyof the two MS-13 members allegedly involved in the slaying.
President Donald Trump has singled out the MS-13 gang as a threat to the U.S. and blames weak border enforcement for the group’s crimes.