As President Donald Trump addressed the nation to gather support for funding a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday night, he referenced a case in Maryland involving the brutality of MS-13 gang members — the type of criminals he said he wants to keep out of the country.
“In Maryland,” he said, “MS-13 gang members who arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors were arrested and charged last year after viciously stabbing and beating a 16-year-old girl.”
That didn’t exactly happen.
But there have been similar cases in Maryland that include elements of the scenario Trump depicted, as MS-13 members have committed assaults and killings — primarily in the Washington suburbs. The international gang was born in Los Angeles and most members have Salvadoran heritage.
Here’s a rundown of some of the more prominent cases from the last few years that bear resemblance to Trump’s MS-13 anecdote.
» In June 2018, brothers Lenin Mancias-Callejas and Bryan Mancias-Callejas, both 16 and alleged members of MS-13, were charged in the killing of 19-year-old Herson Mejia-Alvarez. Mejia-Alvarez’s body was found in Silver Spring in May 2018, according to the Washington Post.
» Also in June, Marcos Melendez-Gamez, a 17-year-old from Annapolis, was charged in the 2017 death of Neris Giovani Bonilla-Palacios, 17. Prosecutors alleged Medelez-Gamez acted as a lookout while Bonilla-Palacios was murdered by MS-13 members.
» In February 2018, a 16-year-old boy was stabbed outside Parkdale High School in Prince George’s County. Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said the stabbing was related to MS-13, the Washington Post reported.
» In January 2017, 15-year-old Damaris Reyes Rivas, of Gaithersburg, was tortured and killed by Venus Romero Iraheta in the woods of Northern Virginia. Iraheta, 18, was sentenced to 40 years in prison in November and overall, 10 associates of MS-13 were convicted of the attack, the Washington Post reported. The case has been used in the past by the Trump administration to highlight the resurgence of MS-13 in the Washington area.
» Last year, six alleged members of MS-13 were indicted on murder, conspiracy and racketeering charges in March. And in June, two dozen alleged MS-13 members were also indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to participate in racketeering related to murders, kidnapping, extortion and money laundering from 2015 until 2017.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.