MS-13 member pleads not guilty to racketeering charges in murder of Lynn teenager

John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse, Boston, Mass. Photo by Chris O'Brien/BU News Service

By Stella Lorence
BU News Service

BOSTON – A member of “La Mara Salvatrucha,” or MS-13, pleaded not guilty Monday in U.S. District Court on charges of racketeering after the murder of a 17-year-old Lynn boy.

Elisio Vaquerano Canas, 20, a Salvadoran native living in Chelsea, was indicted along with five other MS-13 members after the body of 17-year-old Herson Rivas was found in August 2018 with multiple stab wounds, murdered by five of the six defendants, according to a Department of Justice release.  

Rivas was allegedly targeted because he was believed to have cooperated with law enforcement.

Rivas was found dead by police near Henry Avenue Playground in Lynn after being stabbed multiple times in the head, neck and torso. It appeared that Rivas had been murdered a few days before the body was discovered and left in the woods, according to the release. 

One of the defendants bragged about the murder and described it in graphic detail in a secretly recorded jailhouse conversation with a cooperating witness.

“When I stabbed him, it came out,” said one of the alleged killers, Henri Salvador Gutierrez, 19, of Somerville, who also goes by “Perverso,” according to a motion Assistant U.S. Attorney Kunal Pasricha filed. “And [Eliseo Vaquerano Canas] dude, he was dicing him as if he were a cow, that [expletive]! The knife Peligroso had, dude, looked like a saw now, dude. It broke, the son of a [expletive], on the cutting edge. It was warped. Because he was hitting him right on the skull, Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang!”

Canas faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.  

“MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence against rival gang members to gain promotions and to maintain membership and discipline within the group,” the Department of Justice said in the statement. “MS-13 members are required to attack and murder rival gang members whenever possible, and to attack and murder those suspected of cooperating with law enforcement.”

Canas’ case will be heard again on Dec. 12.

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