20th MS-13 member, Juan Flores-Castro pleads guilty in violent racketeering conspiracy
In his plea, Juan Flores-Castro (also known as Juan Pablo Guerra-Flores and “Duende”), 32, of Columbus, accepts responsibility for committing murder and trafficking cocaine and marijuana on behalf of MS-13.
Parties involved in Flores-Castro’s case have recommended a sentence of 35 to 40 years in prison.
The defendant is one of 23 members and associates of MS-13 in Columbus charged in a February 2018 second superseding indictment. He is the twentieth defendant to plead guilty.
The defendants are charged in a racketeering conspiracy, which includes five murders as well as attempted murder, extortion, money laundering, drug trafficking, assault, obstruction of justice, witness intimidation, weapons offenses and immigration-related violations.
Among other crimes, Flores-Castro is charged for his role in the December 2016 murder of Salvador Martinez-Diaz, a suspected rival 18th Street gang member. According to court documents, this homicide was carefully planned. Just after 3am on Dec. 4, 2016, MS-13 members waited outside the apartment of Martinez-Diaz and opened fire on him with pistols, shooting him multiple times and killing him. The members of the transnational gang then disposed of evidence of their crime. Flores-Castro admitted that he and other co-conspirators conducted surveillance of the victim, followed him home, and were in contact with the shooters in the moments leading up to the murder.
Flores-Castro pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering.
David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Chris Hoffman, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; Rebecca Adducci, Detroit Field Office Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations; Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin; and Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan announced the guilty plea entered before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.