A 26-year-old Severn man prosecutors say was a leader in a local branch of MS-13 was sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to racketeering.

Jose Augustin Salmeron-Larios, also known as “Yankee,” was sentenced to 260 months in federal prison Monday after he admitted to participating in several crimes on behalf of the gang, including an attempted murder in Hyattsville in 2015. An attorney for Salmeron-Larios was not available to comment Monday night.


The Anne Arundel County man was painted by prosecutors as one of the leaders in the gang in Prince George’s County, as he admitted in his plea agreement he helped coordinate with several branches or “cliques” within the gang. In his plea agreement, Salmeron-Larios wrote that he was a “Program leader” for MS-13 within its Parkview Locos Salvatrucha, or “PLVS," branch.

The Severn man wrote in his plea agreement that he participated in a shooting Nov. 7, 2015, that left a man without one eye and other injuries because the man was believed to be a member of the 18th Street Gang, a rival of MS-13, his plea agreement reads.

In addition, he wrote that he sold cocaine on behalf of the gang and helped the gang procure firearms.

Prosecutors had looked to link multiple violent crimes to Salmeron-Larios before his plea agreement last year, as he was also accused of helping coordinate or having knowledge of the murders of 22-year-old Roberto Jimenez-Gonzales and 27-year-old Jesus Pacheco-Santos in Hyattsville in 2016.

“As the founder and leader of the MS-13 gang’s ‘Maryland Program,’ Salmeron-Larios organized and coordinated violence, drug trafficking, and extortion among six MS-13 cliques operating in the Maryland area,” U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said in a statement. “His arrest and conviction helped to dismantle the gang’s effort to make MS-13 operations in Maryland more organized, efficient, and deadly.”

A transnational gang with roots in El Salvador, MS-13 has been a presence in the country since the 1980s, but authorities say the gang has stepped up its activities in America in recent years to support its activities back in El Salvador.

While authorities say the gang has largely been based around the Washington, D.C., suburbs in Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Montgomery and Frederick counties, several Baltimore County residents are charged of murdering a 21-year-old who’d flashed rival gang signs.