Feds: 9 gang members indicted in racketeering, ‘violent’ crime conspiracy in Nashville

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Posted at 10:29 AM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 19:53:51-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — A federal grand jury in Nashville has indicted nine suspected gang members in connection with a “violent” crime conspiracy that includes allegations of kidnapping and murder.

Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart made the announcement Wednesday in Nashville, saying the 60-count, second superseding indictment charges nine MS-13 gang members in a racketeering conspiracy that includes allegations of seven murders, kidnappings, numerous assaults, robberies, and large-scale drug distribution.

The U.S. Department of Justice said the indictments were handed down Monday. According to the DOJ, the following suspects were arrested and taken into federal custody:

  • Carlos Ochoa-Martinez, 31, aka “El Serio,” of Nashville
  • Jason Sandoval, 35, aka “Bin Laden,” of Nashville
  • Jorge Flores, 29, aka “Peluche,” of Nashville
  • Kevin Tidwell, 28, aka “Miklo,” of Nashville;
  • Jose Pineda-Caceres, 22, aka “Demente,” of Honduras
  • Franklin Hernandez, 22, aka “Happy,” of Honduras
  • Luis Colindres, 24, aka “Listo,” of Honduras;
  • Gerson Serrano-Ramirez, 34, aka “Frijole,” of El Salvador
  • Juan Melendez,” aka “Shaggy,” of Lebanon, Tennessee

Investigators said the indictment alleges that one or more of the suspects also conspired with other gang members and committed the following crimes:

  • “On April 6, 2016, murdered J.A. in Nashville by shooting him.”
  • “On July 31, 2016, murdered L.R. in Nashville while attempting to murder R.R.”
  • “On January 18, 2017, attempted to murder R.V. in Nashville by shooting him and attempted to murder H.V., L.A., and H.S. by shooting at them.”
  • “On February 25, 2017, attempted to murder H.S. in Nashville by shooting at him.
  • On May 21, 2017, murdered A.G. in Nashville by shooting him.”
  • “On May 27, 2017, attempted to murder L.R.L in Nashville by shooting at him and murdered J.F. by shooting him.”
  • “On June 1, 2017, an MS-13 gang member assaulted a deputized federal officer in Brentwood, Tennessee, while possessing a firearm and attempting to evade arrest.”
  • “On June 17, 2017, brandished and discharged a firearm in Nashville during the kidnapping and assault of C.R.”
  • “On July 25, 2017, kidnapped and assaulted X.A. in Nashville to prevent X.A. from cooperating with law enforcement.”
  • “On September 24, 2017, murdered H.Z. in Nashville by shooting him and murdered Y.H. by shooting him to prevent him from becoming a witness to H.Z.’s murder.”
  • “On September 24, 2017, lured A.L. to a meeting in Nashville and murdered him by shooting him and burned a car with his body in the trunk.”

Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said the seven murders happened over a 17-month period, between April 2016 and September 2017.

“These murders and other violent acts put our community and our citizens in jeopardy,” Drake said.

If convicted, the suspects face up to life in prison.