One of the alleged MS-13 gang leaders who was charged last year in a sweeping indictment of gang members across the Northeast faces new charges that he authorized the murders of two teenagers in East Boston.
“This indictment is part of an ongoing investigation into the criminal activities of leaders, members, and associates of MS-13,” prosecutors said in a statement Monday.
Oscar Duran, who was initially charged with racketeering conspiracy for the gang activities of drug dealing and violence, faces new charges related to two murders: That of Wilson Martinez, 15, who was stabbed to death on Constitution Beach on Sept. 7, 2015, and the killing of Christofer Perez de la Cruz, 16, who was shot and stabbed to death on Jan. 10, 2016, on Falcon Street.
Seven other people have already been charged in those deaths, including one alleged gang member who was charged in connection with both killings.
As a gang leader, Duran, 25, who goes by the nickname “Demente,” was charged with approving, or “greenlighting,” both of the killings. He later approved the promotions of those who carried out the murders, according to court records.
Duran, a Salvadoran national who had been living in East Boston, has been held without bail since he was arrested in a law enforcement sweep in January 2016.
The new indictment alleges Duran was the leader of the Molinos Loco Salvatrucha [MLS] clique of MS-13, a violent transnational street gang that originated in Los Angeles and is directed by gang leaders in El Salvador.
MS-13 has several branches, or “cliques,” throughout the country, such as MLS. Duran allegedly oversaw the MLS operations in Boston and also directed operations nationwide.
More than 61 people allegedly affiliated with the gang have been charged in the federal indictment. Authorities said the operation to arrest the alleged gang members has dismantled the gang’s Northeast structure.
The gang is notorious for its brazen acts of violence against rival gang members, and violence is often used within the gang structure to carry out discipline and to gain promotions and maintain membership within the group, according to law enforcement officials and criminal justice analysts.
“Specifically, MS-13 members are required to attack and murder rival gang members whenever possible,” authorities said in a statement. The defendants were charged with carrying out six murders, 20 attempted murders, and robberies and drug trafficking.Milton J. Valencia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.