MS-13 boss pleads guilty to federal racketeering charges in Boston court

The head of East Coast operations for the notorious MS-13 street gang pleaded guilty Monday to federal racketeering charges in US District Court in Boston, officials said.

Jose Adan Martinez Castro, a 28-year-old Salvadoran national, admitted to conspiring to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly known as a RICO conspiracy, according to acting US Attorney William D. Weinreb’s office.

Castro, who goes by the nickname “Chucky,” faces up to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced in February, Weinreb’s office said in a statement.


Prosecutors said Castro, a former Richmond, Va., resident, was one of 61 defendants indicted after a lengthy investigation into MS-13 activities in the Boston area. He’s the 25th person to be convicted.

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Weinreb’s office described him as the leader of MS-13’s East Coast Program.

“MS-13 leaders incarcerated in El Salvador oversee individual branches, or ‘cliques,’ that are grouped into ‘programs’ throughout the United States,” the release said. “On Dec. 13, 2015, Castro was recorded as he ran a meeting of East Coast Program clique leaders in Richmond, Va. During the meeting, Castro and others discussed sending money to El Salvador to support MS-13, the need to work together to increase the gang’s strength and control, and the need to violently retaliate against anyone who provided information against the gang.”

The violence included murder.

In October, a former Chelsea resident named in the indictment, Hector Ramires, 24, admitted to killing a bystander who was struck by a stray bullet when Ramires fired at a gang rival. He also admitted to attempted murder and armed robbery, prosecutors have said.


The government will recommend a 27-year prison sentence for Ramires under terms of a plea deal.

Globe Correspondent Adam Sennott contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.