A man slain in a Maryland park by the MS-13 street gang was stabbed 100 times, beheaded and had his heart torn out, police say.
Court documents released Wednesday in the arrest of Miguel Angel Lopez-Abrego, 19, on suspicion of murder revealed the gory details of the slaying, reported NBC4.
The victim, who remains unidentified, was found in a grave Sept. 5 in Wheaton Regional Park in Silver Springs, Maryland, according to a Montgomery County Police Department release. Police describe him as a Hispanic man about 5’2” tall and weighing about 125 lbs. He had short dark hair and a missing lower tooth, and was wearing a large gray sweatshirt with “First United Methodist Church Laurel” on the chest. He may have been from Annapolis.
A police investigation linked the slaying to the MS-13 street gang and led to the Nov. 11 arrest of Lopez-Abrego in North Carolina, the release says.
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According to court documents, police say Lopez-Abrego helped lure the man to the park last spring and helped dig a grave for him, NBC4 reported. Then he and nine other MS-13 gang members choked him, stabbed him and dismembered him. Court documents say the gang ripped his heart from his chest and threw it into the grave with his body.
An informant reportedly told police where to find the body and described the gruesome slaying, NBC4 says.
MS-13, short for Mara Salvatrucha, operates in 42 states and Washington, D.C., according to the FBI. In 2008, the gang had at least 6,000 active members in the U.S., most originally from Central America nations including El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala along with Mexico. The FBI calls the gang extremely violent and links it to crimes including drug distribution, murder, rape, prostitution, robbery, home invasions, immigration offenses, kidnapping, carjackings, auto thefts, and vandalism.
President Donald Trump frequently spoke of MS-13 on the campaign trail, linking it to U.S. immigration policies. On Oct. 23, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced an even stricter crackdown on the gang in a Long Island speech, designating it as a priority for a national drug enforcement task force, CBS News reported.
“Now they will go after MS-13 with a renewed vigor and a sharpened focus,” Sessions said at a speech in Philadelphia. “I am announcing that I have authorized them to use every lawful tool to investigate MS-13 – not just our drug laws, but everything from RICO to our tax laws to our firearms laws. Just like we took Al Capone off the streets with our tax laws, we will use whatever laws we have to get MS-13 off of our streets.”