Las Vegas Metro police said they have arrested five suspects in connection with 10 murders that occurred over the course of a year. The suspects are affiliated with the MS-13 gang.
Two of the murders occurred in 2017 and eight occurred in 2018. All of the murders occurred over the course of 12 months.
The investigation involved the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, FBI, as well as law enforcement from Fresno and Los Angeles.
Police said the suspects involved in the crime are extremely violent. All of the victims were shot or stabbed numerous times.
Retired Metro officers who reached out to FOX5 in the weeks prior to the announcement said they heard of multiple "dismembered" bodies dumped near Mt. Charleston and Lake Mead.
"We are confident the suspects involved have been located and arrested," Sheriff Joe Lombardo said.
Lombardo said this investigation has been a top priority for the department and he is proud of his officers for solving the cases quickly.
"I have said in the previous iterations of public appearances that MS-13 didn't have a large footprint here in the Las Vegas Valley. I still believe that," he said. "We feel confident that additional crimes committed by this particular gang have been curtailed. It would be panacea to think that they wouldn't continue with their actions in the future, but we feel confident that we have them under control."
Capt. Robert Plummer, of Metro’s Homicide Section, said investigators were able to link the weapon used in both 2017 murders together.
Daniel Clark, the first victim, was shot to death in March of 2017. Clark's former girlfriend said she has started to feel closure now that his killers have been arrested.
Richard Gaudio, the second victim, was killed on New Year's Eve as he was lighting fireworks in a neighbor's driveway.
"I've been scared ever since. I'm really traumatized. I'm afraid to go anywhere. I think that they might come back!" one neighbor said, speaking to FOX5 on the condition of anonymity. "He was breathing. His pulse was real faint."
In January, Las Vegas Metro policesearch and rescue crews were conducting an unrelated search and rescue operation when they came across a body.
The victim was a former MS-13 Gang member.
A few days later, Arquimidez Sandoval-Martinez was partying with friends at a downtown club. He went outside and was never seen again, Plummer said. Two weeks later, his body was recovered by a division of forestry officer near Lake Mead and State Route 147.
During the investigation, homicide detectives discovered both victims knew each other and both were involved with the MS-13 gang.
Plummer said on March 2, detectives took the suspects into custody on Jones Boulevard. Detectives learned they were on their way to commit another murder.
At least six of the 10 victims were kidnapped before they were killed and their bodies were dumped in a mountain area, Plummer said. Several of the victims claimed affiliation with other Mexican gangs.
On Dec. 31, 2017, another victim, Richard Gaudio was standing in a driveway when a car pulled up and he was shot to death.
Another victim Daniel Clark was murdered on March 3, 2017. The gun that killed Clark and Gaudio was matched through forensic evidence.
“Our investigation thus far has recovered 18 firearms,” Plummer said.
The firearms include an AR-15, semi-automatic pistols, and shotguns. Eight of the guns were stolen in Metro’s jurisdiction. One was stolen in Henderson.
The four adult suspects are currently being held on federal immigration charges, Plummer said. There is also one juvenile in custody.
Three of the suspects are from El Salvador and one is from Honduras.
In partnership with the FBI, Las Vegas Metro police submitted the case to the U.S. Attorney’s office for consideration of the following offenses: kidnapping, assault with intent to commit murder, first-degree murder, use of a firearm resulting in death, and crimes occurring on federal land.
Case submitted to the U.S. attorney’s office for the following charges: kidnapping, assault with intent to commit murder, first-degree murder, use of a firearm resulting in death, crimes occurring on federal land.
Metro said the current footprint of the MS-13 gang is “roughly around less than 50 that we have documented here in Clark County.” MS-13 is a transnational gang originating in El Salvador and California. However, transnational gangs tend to go from city-to-city, so it is not unusual to find them in places outside of the border.
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