Dallas, Texas - An MS-13 gang member was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for his role in a brutal machete attack at a park just outside Dallas, Texas, announced Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas.

Manuel Amaya-Alvarez, 22, pleaded guilty in May to four counts of violent crime in aid of racketeering (VICAR).  U.S. District Judge Jayne Boyle for the Northern District of Texas sentenced Amaya-Alvarez November 14.

According to court documents, Amaya-Alvarez – an El Salvadorian national in the United States illegally – admitted he belonged to MS-13, a notorious and violent transnational street gang.

In Sept. 25, 2017, he admitted he and fellow MS-13 gang members attempted to “take out,” or kill, four individuals at Running Bear Park in Irving, Texas.

That night, the gang lured an individual – a man they perceived to be a rival gang member – to the park under the guise that they wanted to buy his tattoo machine.  The man came with two other men and a female acquaintance.  When they arrived, gang members lured them to wooded area in the back of the park, where additional gang members – armed with a shotgun, machetes, and clubs – lay in wait. 

After Amaya-Alvarez and another gang member, both seated on a park bench, greeted the victims, the other gang members appeared and surrounded the victims, forcing them to kneel on the ground before robbing them and attacking them with machetes and clubs, according to court documents.  The three men fled, but the female could not escape and was savagely maimed and left for dead.

Two of the men also suffered serious physical injuries, including blunt trauma from blows and severe cuts from a machete.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Irving Police Department conducted the investigation.  Trial Attorney Julie Finocchiaro with the Department of Justice's Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gary Tromblay and Sid Moody are prosecuting the case.