GREENBELT, Md. (WJZ) -- A member of the Maryland MS-13 extortion operation in D.C. suburbs was convicted after a federal trial on Thursday.
A federal jury convicted Gerdandino Delgado-Escobar, 24, of Hyattsville, of conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce by extortion.
According to trial evidence, in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, MS-13 generated income from various sources, including the extortion of money from businesses.
Targeted businesses included drug dealers, brothels, unlicensed "stores" where food, alcoholic beverages, and cigarettes were sold, as well as legitimate businesses, including food and beverage sellers and distributors.
The evidence presented at the trial proved Delgado-Escobar was a member and associate of a clique of MS-13. From at least March 2013, Delgado-Escobar -- working with other MS-13 members and associates -- extracted weekly extortion payments known as "rent" from victim business owners for operating in territory controlled by MS-13.
According to evidence presented at the trial, the payments were generally about $40 to $50 per week for beer delivery businesses and around $115 per week for brothel owners.
As proven during the trial, Delgado-Escobar and his co-conspirators extorted numerous business owners operating in the Langley Park area. Delgado-Escobar conspired with other MS-13 members and associated to obtain money from victims through the use of actual and threatened force, violence and fear.
In one instance, a victim who delivered beer was grabbed by the neck, had a gun put to his head and was threatened with the murder of his entire family if he did not pay MS-13 for operating a business in its territory.
MS-13 members referred to these extortion payments as "rent."
Delgado- Escobar remains detained pending his sentencing, which has not yet been scheduled.
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