MS-13 Gang Member Sentenced to More than 10 Years in Federal Prison; Duende goes to the Big House

BOSTON – An MS-13 member was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for racketeering conspiracy and being an illegal alien in unlawful possession of ammunition.

Cristian Alvarez Hernandez, a/k/a “Duende,” 22, a Salvadoran national residing in East Boston, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf to 121 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Alvarez Hernandez will also be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence. In September 2021, Alvarez Hernandez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy, and to being an illegal alien in unlawful possession of ammunition.

MS-13, or La Mara Salvatrucha, is a transnational street gang operating in Massachusetts and numerous other states, as well as countries such as El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. MS-13 members follow certain core rules and principles, including that members attack and attempt to kill members of rival gangs and that members do not act as informants or cooperate with law enforcement.

Alvarez Hernandez was a chequeo, or mid-level, member in MS-13’s Everett Locos Salvatrucha (ELS) clique. As a member of MS-13, Alvarez Hernandez accepted and furthered its core objectives of attacking rival gang members or MS-13 members who violated the enterprise’s rules. Alvarez Hernandez was a rising member within ELS, and photographs showed him embracing MS-13’s lifestyle, including flashing gang signs, wearing gang colors or symbols, posing with weapons and being photographed alongside numerous other MS-13 members. He was also found in possession of three firearms and over 150 rounds of ammunition.

Alvarez Hernandez’s membership activity within the gang also included his dispute with a teenage boy who was killed in September 2015 by four other MS-13 gang members based on the victim’s perceived status as a rival. The four MS-13 members who personally participated in the murder were charged separately and have each been convicted for their participation in the murder. Edwin Gonzalez a/k/a “Sangriento,” was sentenced to life in prison; Carlos Melara a/k/a “Chuchito,” was sentenced to 36 years in prison; and Henry Parada Martinez a/k/a “Street Danger,” was sentenced to 21 years in prison. The last remaining MS-13 member involved, Rene Mejia Flores, a/k/a Gasper, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

First Assistant United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett; Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin R. Hayden; Boston Police Acting Commissioner Gregory Long; Lynn Police Chief Christopher Reddy; and Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes made the announcement today.