MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge James Hunt announced that the alleged leader of the MS-13 Sailors Clique has been arraigned on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and drug trafficking in Nassau County and nationally.
Miguel Angel Corea Diaz a/k/a Reaper, 35, of Laurel, Maryland, was arraigned today before Acting Supreme Court Justice Patricia Harrington on three counts of Operating as a Major Trafficker (an A-I felony) and five counts of Conspiracy in the Second Degree (a B felony). The defendant is due back in court on May 10 and was remanded. If convicted of the top count, the defendant faces up to 25 years to life in prison.
“With today’s arraignment, we now have the highest-ranking MS-13 member on the East Coast in custody,” DA Singas said. “This defendant, known as Reaper, allegedly ordered murders and trafficked large amounts of poisonous heroin up and down the eastern seaboard. What started as a narcotics investigation with the Drug Enforcement Administration quickly expanded in scope and geography to include murder and violence committed by alleged MS-13 members throughout the United States and El Salvador. I am thankful to the DEA and 20 other law enforcement agencies that helped disrupt the Sailors and Hollywood Cliques of MS-13. “
DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt stated, “By arresting the head of the Northeast faction of MS-13, we have crippled MS-13’s operations both in New York and in El Salvador. Miguel Angel Corea Diaz is known in MS-13 as “the Reaper”, appropriate for the murder and mayhem left in his wake throughout the East Coast. I commend the investigators and prosecutors in state, local, federal and international law enforcement who contributed to this significant show of force against gang violence.”
“This investigation proved the law enforcement agencies working together in this community are making an impact on stopping the violent MS-13 gang. Anyone associated with MS-13 should be warned that you won’t be able to commit a crime and simply leave town. We have the ability to work around the country, and the world, to track you down. The FBI and our partners will make sure you are held accountable for your actions,” said William F. Sweeney, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said, “The arrest of defendant Diaz is a severe blow to MS-13 and its illegal criminal activity. Law enforcement continues their crackdown on gangs and the destruction that is associated with their activities. This unprecedented investigation involved over twenty associated law enforcement agencies in numerous states to bring defendant Diaz to justice. Congratulations to all agencies and their dedicated investigators for a job well done, thus keeping our communities and residents safe.”
DA Singas said that beginning in May 2017, the NCDA and the Drug Enforcement Administration began an investigation into the alleged criminal activity of several MS-13 members. Investigators identified MS-13 operations, or “cliques,” in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Texas.
In January, the NCDA announced the indictment of 17 alleged members and associates of MS-13 on murder, conspiracy to commit murder and drug trafficking charges.
Fourteen other defendants charged in the indictment, in addition to Corea Diaz, have been arraigned to date. Another defendant is incarcerated out of state and awaiting extradition to New York, while the final defendant has yet to be apprehended.
According to the indictment, Corea Diaz is the regional director of the MS-13 Sailors Clique for the East Coast of the United States. Local Sailors Clique members reported to the defendant, who in turn reported to several heads of the gang in El Salvador. As leader, Corea Diaz was responsible for carrying out acts of violence, including murder, and trafficking narcotics for delivery to customers to make money for the gang.
Corea Diaz and other indicted co-defendants allegedly trafficked large quantities of heroin on Long Island, in the Bronx, in Baltimore, Houston, Long Branch, N.J., and Jefferson County, Texas.
Corea Diaz allegedly directed several of the defendants to commit murders in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Prince George’s County, Maryland. Those attempts were thwarted by law enforcement.
On September 26, 2017, Corea Diaz allegedly instructed co-defendant Ever Morales Lopez a/k/a “Lenky” to meet Edgar Orellana Saravia a/k/a “Chavi” in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The defendants were allegedly sent to do reconnaissance – including choosing a suitable location to commit the murder of a rival gang member and determining if cameras were nearby. The defendants allegedly discussed where to dispose the victim’s body and how deep to dig the hole.
Working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lopez and Saravia were apprehended in New Jersey on September 30, 2017.
On September 29, 2017, Corea Diaz allegedly instructed co-defendant Augustine Benitez a/k/a “Olvidado” to recruit members of their clique on Long Island to kill another individual in Maryland, who was believed was cooperating with law enforcement.
Working with law enforcement in Maryland the murder was prevented.
The defendant was arrested on October 10, 2017 and was incarcerated in Prince Georges County, Maryland, on charges related to the sale and possession of heroin in Maryland. He was extradited yesterday to Nassau County.
The Nassau County District Attorney thanks the following agencies for their assistance in this investigation:
- Anne Arundel County Police Department (Maryland)
- Bedford County Commonwealth Attorney (Virginia)
- Bedford County Sheriff’s Office (Virginia)
- Drug Enforcement Administration Houston Division
- Drug Enforcement Administration Long Island District Office
- Drug Enforcement Administration San Salvador Country Office
- Drug Enforcement Administration Washington, D.C. Division
- Federal Bureau of Investigation Baltimore
- Federal Bureau of Investigation Long Island Gang Task Force
- Federal Bureau of Investigation Newark
- Federal Bureau of Investigation New York
- Homeland Security Investigations
- Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office (Texas)
- Maryland State Police
- Maryland State’s Attorney, Harford County
- Maryland State’s Attorney, Prince George’s County
- Nassau County Police Department
- Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York
- Prince George’s County Police Department (Maryland)
- Suffolk County Police Department
- United States Attorney’s Office, Baltimore
- United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York
- United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York
The case is being prosecuted by members of the Special Operations, Narcotics and Gang Bureau.
The defendant is represented by Scott Gross, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.