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MS-13 gang member sentenced for 2017 machete attacks at Dallas apartment complexes

Courtroom and gavel. (Joe Gratz/Flickr)

An MS-13 gang member who had a role in several brutal machete attacks at Dallas apartment complexes was sentenced this week to more than 17 years in a federal prison.

In a July 14, 2017 attack, Arnold Stephen Miralda-Cruz and several other gang members ambushed a rival gang member and his roommate at a Dallas apartment, stabbing and cutting the victims with machetes, knives and box cutters.

Following the attack, one of the MS-13 gang members licked the victim’s blood from a machete and stated he liked the “taste of victory,” according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Miralda-Cruz was the final MS-13 member of seven to be sentenced for multiple attacks in the Dallas area, the release said.

Miralda-Cruz had pleaded guilty in February to a federal charge of racketeering, and he was sentenced to 210 months in prison on Tuesday afternoon.

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The defendants, who were in the country illegally, could be deported after serving their sentences, according to federal officials.

“MS-13 is one of the most vicious gangs operating in America today,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox in Thursday’s news release. “When machete-wielding gang members terrorize our streets, they will be met with certain justice.”

Federal court documents indicated that Miralda-Cruz and the other six defendants, all from El Salvador and Honduras, admitted to being members of MS-13, a violent transnational street gang with the creed, “kill, rob, rape, control.” As members, the defendants were required to commit acts of violence to protect the gang’s reputation and were urged to attack and kill rival gang members.

The attacks by this group occurred from July until August 2017 at Dallas and Irving apartments, an Irving park and an Irving home, according to federal court documents.

After the July 2017 attack in Dallas, the gang attacked and extorted a heroin dealer at his Irving home. One MS-13 member forced the victim to kneel, then kicked him and struck him a machete.

On Aug. 9, 2017, several MS-13 members attacked another rival gang member at a Dallas apartment complex. Armed with an icepick, a sledgehammer, a metal bar, a stick and a knife, they chased him down and then attacked him.

A few days later, MS-13 gang members attacked and robbed a rival gang member an an Irving apartment complex. They savagely beat, kicked and hit him with a metal bat until they thought he was dead.

Also in August 2017, gang members tried twice to kill a rival gang member first at a Dallas park and then at a Dallas apartment. At a Dallas apartment, a MS-13 gang member pointed a shotgun at the victim’s chest to shoot him, but the weapon jammed and did not fire. The victim escaped.

In one of the most brutal attacks, MS-13 gang members went to Running Bear Park in Irving to ambush and kill a victim who they believed to be a rival gang member. Gang members who were armed with machetes, sticks and a shotgun lured him to the park under the guise that they were going to buy a tattoo machine from him.

The victim showed up with three friends, but the MS-13 gang still confronted them and forced them to kneel before the gang members hacked at the victims with their machetes.

The victims, who suffered multiple cuts and lacerations, managed to escape.

The other MS-13 members arrested and later sentenced included:

— Rolan Ivan Hernandez-Fuentes, aka “Tasmania,” sentenced to life in federal prison for RICO conspiracy. He was the one who licked the victim’s blood from a machete after an attack.

— Jerson Gutierrez-Ramos, aka “Sparky,” sentenced to 475 months in federal prison for RICO conspiracy.

— Kevin Cruz, aka “Street Danger,” sentenced to 250 months in federal prison for RICO conspiracy.

— Manuel Amaya-Alvarez, aka “Chocolate,” sentenced to 240 months for two counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering.

— Jose Armando Saravia-Romero, aka “Pinky,” sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering.

— Jonathan Alexander Baires, aka “Splinter,” sentenced to 120 months for attempted murder in aid of racketeering.

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(c) 2020 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.