An MS-13 gang leader whose brutality a federal prosecutor described as “almost unfathomable” has been sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to commit murder in the aid of racketeering and other charges.
Miguel Angel Corea Diaz, 41, also known as “Reaper,” was once the highest ranking MS-13 member on the East Coast, the US Department of Justice said Friday.
The life sentence was imposed after Corea Diaz, of Long Branch, New Jersey, was convicted by a federal jury in November conspiracy to commit murder in the aid of racketeering, murder in the aid of racketeering, drug dealing conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, according to federal prosecutors.
CNN has reached out to Corea Diaz’s attorney, Steve Mercer, for comment.
In the defendant’s sentencing memorandum, Mercer requested a “sentence that provides for a realistic opportunity for release.” Mercer urged the judge to sentence Corea Diaz to no more than 21 years and two months.
Court documents said Corea Diaz “conspired with members and associates of MS-13 to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, including murder, extortion, money laundering, witness tampering, and distribution of controlled substances” from 2010 to October 2017.
“The brutality of Corea Diaz is almost unfathomable,” Maryland US Attorney Erek L. Barron said in a Justice Department statement.
Corea Diaz and another gang member awaiting sentencing controlled and operated the Sailors Locos Salvatruchos Westside Clique, which ran a “protection” scheme around its base in Langley Park, Maryland, and extorted local businesses for operating in MS-13 “territory,” the statement said.
The gang also trafficked heroin, cocaine and other drugs, with a large part of the proceeds sent to its leadership in El Salvador, according to federal prosecutors.
MS-13, which prosecutors describe as one of the largest criminal organizations in the US, is a “transnational gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador,” the statement said.
Salvadoran immigrants fleeing the country’s civil war started MS-13 decades ago in Los Angeles. Its membership includes immigrants from Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and other Central and South American countries, according to an FBI Threat Assessment of the gang.
Over the years, MS-13 members have been convicted of a number of crimes nationwide, ranging from racketeering to murder.