A suspected MS-13 gang member has very recently been arrested and charged with first-degree murder after a man was stabbed for more than 100 times and then was buried in a Maryland park, authorities had said.
Miguel Angel Lopez-Abrego, 19, was taken into custody earlier this month after an insider had alerted Montgomery County Police detectives about the grave, authorities said on Tuesday.
Authorities believed that the victim, who has not yet been identified, was lured into the Wheaton Regional Park, roughly 10 miles north of Washington, D.C., sometime between December 2016 and March 2017.
According to the police, he was attacked there by as many as a total of 10 members of the MS-13 gang, who used their walkie-talkies to alert one another. The suspects then stabbed him, decapitated and dismembered him, and cut out his heart, which they had buried with his body in a pre-dug grave, the news source reported, citing court documents.
Assistant State’s Attorney Kelly McGann had said in court that Lopez-Abrego was thought to be the first of the members to stab the victim, according to the news.
It wasn’t until September 5th that authorities had found the victim’s body and exhumed it, police said.
Authorities had now questioned Lopez-Abrego about the man’s murder late September this year during a traffic stop, but he had denied any involvement.
When officers had tried to locate him again, he had reportedly vanished. The law enforcement agents looking for another MS-13 suspect, eventually tracked Lopez-Abrego again and the second member, to an apartment in North Carolina. There, they took Lopez-Abrego into custody, as well as two other men ― one of whom is suspected of participating in a different attack in the same park.
Lopez-Abrego is an undocumented immigrant from the El Salvador, local station reported while citing that the officials with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He is being held without any bond.
Police had described the victim as a 5-foot-2 Hispanic male who had weighed 126 pounds and had short, dark brown hair and a missing lower tooth that may have been recognizable when he was speaking or smiling.
He was wearing a men’s gray sweatshirt printed with the words “First United Methodist Church Laurel” and a gray long-sleeve shirt with a hood by American Eagle. He also had black sweatpants on by Adam Levine over a pair of blue athletic shorts with the number 19 on them. A rosary was also recovered with his body.
President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have themselves vowed to eliminate the MS-13 and its members, prompting immigrant advocates to warn that the gang is being used as a justification for anti-immigration policies.
MS-13 was founded in Los Angeles in the 1980s by the refugees fleeing U.S.-backed civil wars in Central America. Observers of the region have long said that the U.S. deportation policies have helped to create an “unending chain” of gang members moving between the U.S. and Central America.
Another news report investigation had published in June this year and found that a recent influx of teenage immigrants joining MS-13 gangs had traveled to the U.S. to escape poverty and violence. Once in the U.S., they get swept up in joining gangs in hopes of finding a way to fit in.