A leader in the transnational criminal gang MS-13 has been arrested in Texas after being on the run for more than three years.

Cesar Humberto Lopez-Larios—a high-ranking leader in the MS-13 gang—was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations on Sunday when he arrived at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. 

Lopez-Larios was charged with conspiracy to provide and conceal material support to terrorists, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiracy to finance terrorism, and narco-terrorism conspiracy.

“The arrest of Lopez-Larios, who is one of the most senior leaders of MS-13 in the world, is a significant achievement for law enforcement and another crucial step in the dismantling of this international criminal enterprise,” said United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace. “The defendant will soon face a reckoning in a federal courtroom on Long Island where, acting on his orders, MS-13 has spilled so much blood and turned communities into war zones.”

According to the US Attorney’s Office, a federal court in Houston ordered Lopez-Larios to be turned over to the Eastern District of New York, where he and 13 other high-ranking MS-13 leaders will be charged with “directing the transnational criminal organization’s criminal activities in the United States, El Salvador, Mexico, and elsewhere over the past two decades.”

“Now that Mr. Lopez-Larios is behind bars, he’s no longer in his alleged position of power directing a reign of terror, nor enriching MS-13 and their cartel associates,” said FBI Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge Krysti Hawkins. “The FBI will continue to collaborate with our partners to seek justice and to find the remaining fugitives of this vicious transnational criminal enterprise.”

Texas Scorecard previously reported on the Texas Department of Public Safety apprehending an illegal alien from Mexico who has a long history of criminal activity including homicide, burglary, and tampering with government records. He was one of ten on Texas’ top most wanted illegal aliens. 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.