Nine MS-13 members, including illegal immigrants, convicted of 5 gangland murders in Nashville

Six defendants previously pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy and related offenses.

Three MS-13 gang members were convicted of racketeering conspiracy charges, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, drug trafficking, and destruction of evidence. The three were among the nine defendants charged in the indictment, with the other six defendants previously pleading guilty to RICO conspiracy and related offenses

According to the Department of Justice, from 2014 until 2021, Jorge Flores, 30, aka Peluche, Kevin Tidwell, 29, aka Miklo, both of Nashville, Tennessee; and Jose Pineda-Caceres, 24, aka Demente, a Honduran national, were members of MS-13. MS-13 is a national and transnational gang composed largely of individuals of Salvadoran or Central American descent and operates throughout the US.

According to court documents, on April 6, 2016, Pineda-Caceres and several other MS-13 members murdered a victim because they believed the victim was a rival gang member.

Pineda-Caceres lured the victim to a field where he and other members shot the victim to gain entrance into MS-13.

Pineda-Caceres also murdered another victim on July 31, 2016. He followed the victim who had left a nightclub in Nashville to the victim’s car and, while attempting to kill the victim’s brother, shot and killed the victim.

Tidwell and Flores murdered a victim on May 21, 2017, outside of a bar in Nashville because they believed the victim was associated with a rival gang. The pair shot the victim 11 times while the victim was sitting in the victim’s car.

On May 27, 2017, Tidwell and Flores also shot and killed a victim because the victim insulted the gang. They chased down the victim’s car and shot the victim while the victim was attempting to flee.

On Sept. 24, 2017, Flores murdered a victim and other MS-13 members lured the victim to a secluded location in Nashville, shot the victim, and placed the victim’s body in the trunk of a car. Flores then burned the car with the victim’s body in the trunk. 

The defendants were convicted of RICO conspiracy, five murders, multiple attempted murders in aid of racketeering, conspiracies to commit murder in aid of racketeering, firearms offenses, tampering with evidence, and drug distribution. They will be sentenced at a later date and each faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison.

The three trial defendants were among the nine defendants charged in the indictment. The other six defendants previously pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy and related offenses, including:
  • Carlos Ochoa, 33, of Nashville, Tennessee
  • Jason Sandoval, 37, of Nashville, Tennessee
  • Gerson Serrano-Ramirez, 35, of El Salvador
  • Franklin Hernandez, 23, of Honduras
  • Juan Melendez, 24, of El Salvador
  • Luis Colindres, 26, of Honduras
At least one of the men had previously been deported, indicating that he entered the country illegally. Additionally, the Department of Justice does not list the immigration status of foreign nationals, indicating that they may be here illegally. 

Gerson Serrano-Ramirez was previously deported and was also convicted in 2018 for firearm and drug distribution, assault and immigration violations. He had previously violently strangled an individual who told him and other gang members to reduce their disruptive behaviors at a night club in 2017. 

As part of this multi-year investigation, MS-13 members were also convicted of five additional murders in the Nashville area between 2016 and 2017.

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