2021 | Courts

Silver Spring man pleads guilty to gang conspiracy charges

Authorities say defendant conspired to murder other gang members

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A leader in the MS-13 gang pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiracy charges related to two murders and two murder attempts, authorities said.

Jorge Guerra-Castillo, aka “Pelon,” 40, of Silver Spring pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activities, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland.

Authorities said Guerra-Castillo, as a member of the Fulton Locos Salvatruchas clique of MS-13 since at least January 2015, conspired with other gang members on activities such as murder, extortion and drug distribution.

Examples listed in the press release were:

• On April 7, 2015, MS-13 members murdered a person identified only as Victim 1, a suspected rival gang member. Gang leaders sought and received approval from Guerra-Castillo to kill Victim 1, who was repeatedly struck with a machete and a knife in a wooded area in Frederick and died.

• Before May 10, 2015, MS-13 gang members, at the direction of Guerra-Castillo, forced Victim 2 to make regular extortion payments. When the payments stopped, gang members kidnapped Victim 2 at gunpoint to force the payments to continue.

• In August 2015, Guerra-Castillo gave permission for gang members to murder Victim 3, who was believed to be a rival gang member. Using a machete and knives, they attacked and severely injured Victim 3 and his girlfriend.

• Guerra-Castillo approved and assisted in the murder of a suspected member of a rival gang, who was kidnapped, taken to Crownsville, killed, dismembered and buried.

Authorities said Guerra-Castillo, under a plea agreement, faces 390 to 540 months in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 15.