Three known gang leaders have been sentenced to life in federal prison for their roles in murders in Gwinnett and DeKalb counties, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
Ernesto Escobar, Miguel Alvarado-Linares and Dimas Alfaro-Granados were members of MS-13, an international gang that has operated in Atlanta since at least 2005, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said. The gang, which has ties to El Salvador and Honduras, set up Atlanta-area operations, marking their home turf with murders, attempted murders, armed robberies and drug sales, prosecutors said.
“These defendants upheld MS-13’s reputation for spreading fear throughout the community by committing brazen and indiscriminate acts of violence, including killing rival gang members and suspected cooperators,” Yates said in an emailed statement. “They have rightfully earned their life sentences.”
The three were linked to various killings from 2006 to 2007, including the deaths of three teenagers.
In October 2006, Alvarado-Linares, Alfaro-Granados and another gang member killed Lal Ko, 19, a fellow MS-13 member believed to be communicating with police, according to prosecutors.
Then in August 2007, Escobar, also known as “Pink Panther,” scuffled with a pair of teens at a Gwinnett County gas station. Escobar consulted with a gang leader, who gave Escobar a handgun, prosecutors said.
Escobar then returned to the gas station and shot one of the teens, 16-year-old David Hernandez, as he worked painting lines in the parking lot, according to investigators.
During the federal investigation into the MS-13 gang, more than 75 members have been arrested, charged and deported, Yates said.