A leader of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha clique was sentenced today in federal court in Boston.
Rafael Leoner Aguirre, a/k/a “Tremendo,” 22, a Salvadoran national, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 19 years in prison and three years of supervised release, which he will begin serving after completion of the state prison sentence for which he is currently incarcerated. Leoner Aguirre will also be subject to deportation upon the completion of his federal sentence. In November 2017, Leoner Aguirre was convicted by a federal jury after a multi-week trial of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.
Leoner Aguirre was the leader of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha clique. In 2013, Leoner Aguirre entered the United States illegally from El Salvador and initially moved to Michigan. From there, he began recruiting and planning MS-13 activities impacting Massachusetts. Among other things, Leoner Aguirre created recruitment videos for MS-13 and posted them on YouTube. This enabled younger gang members and associates to view these videos, including one witness who testified that he first saw these videos while at a local high school in Massachusetts.
In March 2014, Leoner Aguirre moved to the Chelsea area and immediately began activating, organizing, and supervising the Enfermos clique. As part of that activity, Leoner Aguirre encouraged members of the clique to attack and kill rival gang members, in addition to committing other racketeering acts such as robberies. Leoner Aguirre himself committed a number of racketeering acts, including an attempted murder in Chelsea where Leoner Aguirre struck a victim in the head with a machete. Leoner Aguirre also committed an attempted murder involving a shooting, which is the incident for which he is currently serving a four-to-five year state prison sentence. Leoner Aguirre committed both of these attempted murders in daylight on busy public streets in Chelsea.
The other members and associates of the Enfermos clique were Hector Ramires, a/k/a “Cuervo;” Bryan Galicia Barillas, a/k/a “Chucky;” David Lopez, a/k/a “Cilindro,” a/k/a “Villano;” Daniel Menjivar, a/k/a “Roca,” a/k/a “Sitiko;” Angel Pineda, a/k/a “Bravo;” and Kevin Ayala, a/k/a “Gallito.” Each of these defendants has pleaded guilty and will be subject to deportation upon the completion of their sentences.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Commissioner Thomas Turco of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections; Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Thompkins; Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett; Boston Police Commissioner William Evans; Chelsea Police Chief Brian A. Kyes; Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie; Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary; Revere Police Chief James Guido; and Somerville Police Chief David Fallon made the announcement.
Three defendants – one from Michigan – have been charged for their roles in a non-fatal shooting at the corner of Broadway and Cary Avenue last Wednesday, April 16.
It was one incident in what has been a very busy week for police.
Suffolk prosecutors arraigned two men and a woman in Chelsea District Court after Chelsea police arrested them Wednesday night for their roles in a shooting that left an 18-year-old injured.
Rafael Leoner-Aguirre, 18, of Chelsea was arraigned on charges of armed assault with intent to murder, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, carrying a loaded firearm, and three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Kevin Ayala, 20, of Chelsea, was charged with misleading a police officer and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Viky Martinez-Chacon, 23, of Pontiac, Michigan, was arraigned on a charge of misleading a police officer.
Assistant District Attorney Myriam Feliz requested bail for Leoner-Aguirre of $100,000; $50,000 for Ayala; and $10,000 for Martinez-Chacon. She also requested that each defendant be ordered to wear a GPS monitor, remain in Massachusetts, and stay away and have no contact with the victims and witnesses.
Judge Michael Nestor set Leoner-Aguirre’s bail at $25,000; $2,500 for Ayala; and released Martinez-Chacon on her own recognizance. He ordered each of the defendants to have no contact with the victims and witnesses.
According to prosecutors, Leoner-Aguirre and Ayala were among a group of several males who attacked two 17- and 18-year-old men in the area of Broadway and Cary Avenue shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 16. During that altercation, Leoner-Aguirre allegedly pulled out a gun and shot the 18-year-old victim in the left hip and the group fled, prosecutors said.
Chelsea Police received a description of the vehicle in which men fled and learned that the shooter was wearing all white. Officers quickly spotted the vehicle as Leoner-Aguirre, dressed in all white, exited in the area of Bellingham Street and Eastern Avenue. He was taken into custody. The victim was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Inside Leoner-Aguirre’s backpack, police discovered a Beretta .380 caliber semiautomatic handgun that was warm to the touch, prosecutors said. The gun was cocked but had no ammunition in the clip; an unspent .380 caliber round was found on the ground near where he was taken into custody.
Ayala and Martinez-Chacon were both present in the vehicle when it was stopped by police and made inconsistent statements to police that prosecutors allege were intended to stymie the investigation into the shooting.
As with many cases of violent crime in Chelsea, Chelsea Police detectives are working with State Police detectives assigned to the Suffolk DA’s office to gather additional facts and evidence in the Broadway shooting.
The Broadway shooting comes on the heels of another drive-by shooting on Chester Avenue the previous day, April 15, around 1:30 a.m.
Additionally, several neighborhood reports specified a shooting incident at the corner of Maverick and Shawmut Street where more than five rounds were fired into a house on that tight corner. That said, Chelsea Police told the Record that the report was incorrect and no shooting incident happened there last Wednesday, April 16.
Anyone with further information on any criminal incident may contact Chelsea Police detectives at 617-466-4843 or the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit at 617-727-8817. Tipsters who wish to remain anonymous may also call the Chelsea Police CrimeStoppers tip line at 617-466-4880, text the word CHELSEA and their information to TIP411 (847411), or submit information online at www.ChelseaPolice.com.