Baltimore, Maryland - A New Jersey man was sentenced to life in prison Friday for murder in aid of racketeering; conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, cocaine, and heroin; and possession with intent to distribute heroin.

Miguel Angel Corea Diaz aka Reaper, 41, of Long Branch, a leader in the transnational criminal enterprise La Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13, was convicted by a federal jury on Nov. 23, 2021, after a four-week trial. Co-defendant Junior Noe Alvarado-Requeno aka Insolente and Trankilo, 24, of Landover, Maryland, was also convicted at trial and faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 25.

According to court documents, MS-13 is a transnational gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador. MS-13 has branches or “cliques” that operate throughout Frederick County, Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County, Maryland and elsewhere on the East Coast. 

“The brutality of Corea Diaz is almost unfathomable,” said U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron for the District of Maryland. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to remove these violent gang members to keep our communities safe from the violence perpetrated by MS-13. With the help of members of our communities we will work to bring to justice those MS-13 members who commit these horrible crimes.”

“As members of MS-13, Corea Diaz and his co-conspirators were ruthless and showed no regard for human life by extorting innocent people, tampering with witnesses, and ordering a murder over a drug dispute,” said Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono of the FBI Washington Field Office. “With today’s sentence, Corea Diaz will no longer be able to commit senseless violence and homicidal acts on our streets. The FBI remains steadfast in our resolve to work with our partners to ensure that individuals like Corea Diaz are held accountable for their crimes and to eliminate MS-13's violence from our communities.”

“The ruthlessness of MS-13 in pursuit of profits shows a clear link between violence and the illicit drug trade,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “Today’s sentence won’t undo the harm Diaz is responsible for, but it ensures that for the rest of his life, he will no longer be a direct threat to the communities he terrorized for so long. DEA will continue to work tirelessly with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to ensure violent criminals like Diaz are taken off the streets, helping to make American communities safer and healthier.”

“Any time we can get a notorious gang member off the streets, it is a victory for both law enforcement and law-abiding citizens,” said Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore. “In this case, the criminal is particularly violent, and now he will face the consequences of his crimes.  HSI is grateful to have worked with our partnering federal and local law enforcement agencies to make the communities safer for the citizens of Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia.”

According to evidence presented at trial, between 2015 and 2018, Corea Diaz and his co-defendant Alvarado-Requeno controlled and operated the Sailors Locos Salvatruchos Westside (S.L.S.W. or Sailors) Clique. This Sailors Clique was involved in a host of significant criminal activity including murder, extortion, drug trafficking, money laundering, and witness tampering. Evidence showed that the gang ran a “protection” scheme in and around its home base in Langley Park, Maryland, and extorted local businesses by charging them “rent” for the privilege of operating in MS-13 “territory.” The gang also trafficked in illegal drugs, including heroin and cocaine. A large share of the proceeds of the gang’s illegal activities were sent to gang leadership in El Salvador using structured transactions and intermediaries to avoid law enforcement scrutiny.

According to evidence presented at trial, the Sailors Clique committed acts of violence against suspected rival gang members, as well as against its own membership for breaking gang rules. In March 2017, a member of the Sailors Clique who was hiding from law enforcement in the Lynchburg, Virginia, area had a dispute with a local high school student over marijuana. In response, Corea-Diaz and Alvarado-Requeno organized a squad of MS-13 members to drive down to Lynchburg and murder the minor. The gang members kidnapped the student from his front lawn and cut his hand off before killing him. After the murder, Corea Diaz and Alvarado-Requeno helped to hide and protect the killers from law enforcement.

The FBI and HSI investigated the case, with valuable assistance provided by the DEA’s Washington and New York Field Divisions, the Prince George’s County Police Department, the Montgomery County Police Department, the Bedford County Sherriff’s Office, and the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.

Trial Attorneys Julie Finocchiaro and Alexander Gottfried of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and U.S. Attorney Timothy Hagan for the District of Maryland prosecuted the case.