An MS-13 gang member was sentenced to 160 months in prison and three years of supervised release on Thursday for conspiring and attempting to murder on the gang's behalf, the Justice Department announced.
Celvin Eulice Ramos-Meija, 21, of Columbia, Md., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte of the District of Maryland, according to a press release. Ramos-Mejia had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering and attempted murder in aid of racketeering.
In the plea agreement, Meija admitted he and others attacked a rival, known in the gang as a "chavala," for the purpose of increasing his stature within MS-13. The victim survived the assault but sustained serious stab wounds and injuries.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the sentencing sent a message to gang and cartel members.
"Transnational criminal organizations like MS-13 cannot continue to devastate our communities and our children," Sessions said. "They must be stopped. Today's sentencing sends a warning to all gang and cartel members: we are coming for you."
"This outcome shows how strong cooperation between federal, state, and local law enforcement can help us win the fight against violent gangs," Sessions added.
The first street gang to be labeled a "transnational criminal organization" by the U.S. government, MS-13 is "composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador," according to the Justice Department.
The Trump administration has made MS-13 a focus of its law enforcement agenda, conducting raids and mass arrests against its members throughout 2017. MS-13 began in the 1980s in Los Angeles and has footholds in major cities across the United States, although its strongest influence now resides in Central America.