NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Three MS-13 (La Mara Salvatrucha) gang members have been convicted of murders and several other charges by a Federal jury this week.

It’s a series of cashes that has stemmed from almost a decade long investigation into several MS-13 gang members.

Jorge Flores and Kevin Tidwell of Nashville and Jose Pineda-Caceres of Honduras were convicted of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, drug trafficking and destruction of evidence.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), MS-13 is a transnational gang made up of mostly Salvadoran or Central American descent with branches throughout the U.S. including Nashville.

“MS-13 members are required to follow various rules, chief among them being that cooperation with law enforcement is strictly prohibited, and it is understood within the gang that anyone who assists police will be punished with death,” said David Boling, U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of Tennessee, in a press release.

“Members are also required to confront, fight, and/or kill rival gang members and to retaliate quickly and viciously against anyone who disrespects or threatens the gang’s authority, power, reputation, or control of a neighborhood,” he continued.

Pineda-Caceres has been convicted of murdering a victim believed to have been a rival gang member in order to gain entrance into MS-13 on April 6, 2016. Then he murdered another victim in July of 2016, according to Boling.

Flores and Tidwell murdered a man they believed was a rival gang member on May 21, 2017. Then, they killed another person six days later because he insulted MS-13, according to Boling.

Flores has been convicted of murder in a September 2017 murder, where he and other MS-13 gang members and associates lured a victim, shot them, and placed them in the trunk of a car. Flores then took the car to Cheatham County and set the car on fire, according to Boling.

In total, the three were convicted of RICO conspiracy, five murders, multiple attempted murders in aid of racketeering, conspiracies to commit murder in aid of racketeering, firearms offenses, tampering with evidence, and drug distribution.

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Each face a minimum sentence of life in prison and will be sentenced in the coming months.

The three were also among a total of nine people charged in the same indictment where the other six have pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy and other charges.

  • Carlos Ochoa, 33, of Nashville, Tennessee
  • Jason Sandoval, 37, of Nashville, Tennessee
  • Gerson Serrano-Ramirez, 35, of El Salvador
  • Franklin Hernandez, 23, of Honduras
  • Juan Melendez, 24, of El Salvador
  • Luis Colindres, 26, of Honduras

Boling said the prosecution is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force’s (OCDETF) operation. Click here for more information.