Seven MS-13 Gang Members Indicted by Federal Grand Jury in Violent Crime & Drug Distribution Conspiracy Involving Nashville & Middle Tennessee
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A federal grand jury in Nashville on Wednesday returned a 16-count superseding indictment charging seven MS-13 Gang members with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, along with serious firearm-related offenses.
Those charged are: Carlos Ochoa-Martinez, 31, Jason Sandoval, 35, Jorge Flores, 28, all of Nashville; Jose Pineda-Caceres, 22, and Franklin Hernandez, 21, both of Honduras; Gerson Serrano-Ramirez, 33, of El Salvador; and Juan Melendez, 25, of Lebanon, Tennessee.
The indictment alleges that beginning in 2014 and continuing until yesterday, the defendants conspired with each other to obtain bulk quantities of marijuana and cocaine for redistribution in and around Middle Tennessee. Once the drugs were received, the defendants would reduce them into smaller quantities and sell them in and around nightclubs in Nashville, and from the parking lots and restrooms of these establishments. In order to maximize drug distribution in these nightclubs, the defendants would threaten rival and competing drug dealers who sold and attempted to sell cocaine and marijuana in the nightclubs.
The indictment further alleges that, in order to protect their drugs, territory and proceeds, the defendants would acquire, carry and discharge firearms, and to maintain and extend control over their drug distribution they would commit acts involving murder, intimidation and assault against individuals who jeopardized their operations, including rival drug dealers.
All defendants are in custody and will appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at a later date.
If convicted, the defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison up to 40 years.
This investigation is being conducted by the MNPD’s Gang and Crime Gun Units, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Ahmed Safeeullah and Trial Attorney Matthew Hoff of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime & Gang Section are prosecuting this case.