Maryland members of the notorious MS-13 gang participated in a brutal killing earlier this year. The group lured an as-yet unidentified male victim into a local Wheaton park, stabbed him over 100 times, decapitated him, and removed his heart from his body. Now, the first arrests in the case are being made as police hunt for those who might have been involved in the killing.
According to The Washington Post, Miguel “Timido” Angel Lopez-Abrego, a 19-year-old illegal immigrant from El Salvador, has been charged with first-degree murder and is currently being kept in jail as police pursue other suspects.
“He is noted as being the first individual to thrust a knife into the chest of the decedent,” Assistant State’s Attorney Kelly McGann said in court.
The investigation was spurred by an MS-13 informant who knew of the killing and led police to the crude burial site in Wheaton park: a shallow grave likely dug before the murder.
“The victim had been stabbed over one-hundred times, decapitated, dismembered, and his heart had been excised from his chest and thrown into the grave,” detectives said in court documents.
Lopez-Abrego denied any involvement in the crime in initial interviews but fled after an interrogation. Police evenutally tracked him and two other suspect, Milton Portillo-Rodriguez and an unnamed third MS-13 member involved in other attacks, to a local condo — where they hid inside from police.
19-year-old Edwin Ruiz-Urrutia has been named as another suspect. He is currently being held in jail on charges including attempted second-degree murder and first-degree assault.
Court douments suggest that the group had planned the murder for upwards of two weeks: They apparently “waited near the edge of the wood line with a handheld walkie-talkie radio to alert the other suspects of the victim’s arrival.”
The crime may be an indication of a recent uptick in MS-13 activity in the Washington region.
[Photo: Montgomery County Police]