Six of the seven people charged this week by Baltimore County police in a Towson killing have been identified as members of MS-13 in a federal gang database and are in the U.S. illegally, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
An agency spokeswoman Friday said ICE has issued immigration detainers for the six suspects. That means ICE wants Baltimore County to hold the six undocumented people to give federal agents time to decide whether to take them into federal custody to remove them from the country.
The ICE spokeswoman didn’t identify the six being detained by name, but she said five are Salvadoran and one is Mexican. The agency lodged detainers once the six individuals were arrested Tuesday by Baltimore County police on murder charges, the ICE spokeswoman said. All six were identified as MS-13 members in an ICE gang database, she added.
Baltimore County detectives say members of MS-13 stalked 21-year-old Daniel Alejandro Alvarado Cuellar home from the laundromat in July and stabbed him to death — one killer allegedly armed with a machete-style knife — outside his apartment in Towson. Investigators attributed the killing to a war between two Latino street gangs, 18th Street and MS-13.
Cuellar had been seen making a hand gesture that was believed to be “indicative of an affiliation with the 18th Street,” detectives wrote in charging documents.
Charged in the murder are Jonathan Escobar-Hernandez, 20, Marlon Leonardo Fabian-Flores, 20, Edwin Edgardo Garcia-Martir, 18, Hugo Portillo-Chavez, 31, Jose Fausto Rivera-Coreas, 19, Odaliz Rosas-Yanez, 20, and Leonel Alexander Velasquez-Hernadez, 16. Velasquez-Hernadez is charged as an adult.
MS-13 is active in Maryland but more common in the D.C. suburbs as federal prosecutors allege in an ongoing racketeering case against two dozen purported members. The prosecutors say the gang has operated primarily in Anne Arundel, Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Members of MS-13 have been charged with murder, drug trafficking, extortion and other crimes.
County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. said Thursday crime in the county is “on the decline” overall and the arrests exemplify the county’s efforts to prosecute killings.