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Police and marines in Mexico’s capital on Tuesday arrested an alleged senior leader of the Mara Salvatrucha gang who is wanted in the United States for extortion, drug distribution and terrorism-related charges.
Mexico City’s Secretariat of Citizen Security said Salvadoran José Wilfredo Ayala-Alcántara, alias El Indio de Hollywood, was arrested in the center of the city. Authorities in Mexico said their investigation indicated the 55-year-old was the second in command of the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13.
Ayala-Alcántara was located following a citizen complaint of his presence in Mexico. Authorities said Ayala-Alcántara had used a false identity and moved between the state of Hidalgo in central Mexico and the capital.
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A graffiti linked to the Mara Salvatrucha gang is seen on an interior wall in San Martin, El Salvador, on March 22, 2023. Alleged senior MS-13 gang leader José Wilfredo Ayala-Alcántara was arrested in Mexico City on Tuesday. (MARVIN RECINOS/AFP via Getty Images)
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Ayala-Alcántara has an arrest warrant in Houston, Texas, tweeted the head of citizen security agency, Omar García Harfuch, who said the Salvadoran faced murder charges there.
Two months ago, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced charges against 13 alleged MS-13 leaders, accusing them of directing criminal activities, including murder, in the United States, Mexico and El Salvador, among other countries. The FBI detained four alleged gang leaders at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport last February after they were expelled from Mexico.
The 13 defendants were identified as members of the gang’s command structure, who played important roles in the groups international operations.