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Ohio gang investigation leads to arrest of Indianapolis man and search for fugitive

COLUMBUS, OH. (WISH) — Federal authorities in Columbus, Ohio filed charges Tuesday morning against 15 people believed to be part of a dangerous gang called MS-13.

24 Hour News 8 learned two people have connections to the Indianapolis area. 32-year-old Jose Martin Neftali Aguilar Rivera was arrested Tuesday morning in Indianapolis and 22-year-old Jose Manuel Romero Parada is still on the run.

Federal authorities arrested 13 people in total. Some of the people arrested are facing charges related to immigration, firearms, conspiracy to commit extortion and money laundering. They held a press conference to announce the arrests and charges.

“The enforcement action today was the product of an investigation that has been going on for a year well over a year and a half,” said U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman, Southern District of Ohio.

According to court documents, MS- 13 is made up of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Federal authorities believe the gang has more than 10,000 members operating in at least 40 states.

“Some members lived in Columbus and have been here for a long time and some have lived in Columbus and Indianapolis one in Dayton,” he explained.

Glassman described the gang. He said members organized into clique operations in the states and grew into one of the largest criminal organizations in the country.

“MS-13 is an incredibly violent gang that its calling card, in fact the motto of the gang is kill, rape, and control,” he said.

Court documents show members and associates of the gang in Ohio and other states are believed to be involved in a number of different criminal activities. The documents list murder, attempted murder, robbery, assault, drug trafficking, extortion, and money laundering just to name a few.

“This group used fear and violence to extort local residents out of their hard earned money. While we are aware of a number of victims in this case, we realized there probably are additional victims in the community,” said authorities.

If convicted, these men could face up to 20 years in prison for the conspiracy charges alone.

The FBI said if you are a victim or have any information about the gang you’re asked to call their hotline at (614) 849-1765 and you can remain anonymous.

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