Three men identified as MS-13 gang members from El Salvador have been indicted in the killing of a 21-year-old Salvadoran whose slashed and bullet-riddled body was found last year in the desert outside Las Vegas.
A U.S. District Court grand jury on Tuesday indicted Jose Luis Reynaldo Reyes-Castillo, Miguel Torres-Escobar and David Arturo Perez-Manchame on murder in aid of racketeering and weapon charges in the death of Arquimidez Sandoval-Martinez. Each could face life in prison if convicted.
Reyes-Castillo, 25, is known as Molesto, Torres-Escobar, 21, uses the name Chamilo, and Perez-Manchame, 20, goes by Walter Melendez and Herbi, U.S. Attorney Nicholas Trutanich said in a statement.
They’ve been in federal custody since their arrests in March 2018 in Las Vegas with Josue Diaz-Orellana, who was not indicted, and a 17-year-old who had been charged as a juvenile. It was not immediately clear if Diaz-Orellana or the teen still face charges.
The indictment alleges that Reyes-Castillo, Torres-Escobar and Perez-Manchame abducted Sandoval-Martinez from a downtown Las Vegas club in January 2018, bound him with shoelaces and drove him to the desert where he was hacked with a machete and shot. His body was found 12 days later on federal land east of Las Vegas.
The defendants were arrested in a car driven by Diaz-Orellana, and federal agents reported finding a large butcher knife, three 9mm handguns and a bloodstained baseball cap in the vehicle.
MS-13, also known as La Mara Salvatrucha, emerged in the 1980s as a neighborhood street gang in Los Angeles but is believed by federal prosecutors to have thousands of members across the U.S., primarily immigrants from El Salvador and Honduras.
President Donald Trump has singled out the gang as a threat during speeches advocating for tougher enforcement of illegal immigration.
Las Vegas police have estimated the number of MS-13 gang members in southern Nevada at fewer than 50.