PHOENIX— Matthew Moreno (D.O.B. 11-24-1984), a documented member of the notorious MS-13 street gang, was convicted today on both counts charged by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office—Threatening or Intimidating and Assisting a Criminal Street Gang—both are class 3 felonies.
“MS-13 is known nationwide for furthering its interests and expanding its control through extremely violent and barbaric crimes,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “The defendant’s threats and actions are indicative of this culture and law enforcement will act to protect our community from this growing menace.”
On August 29, 2018, a Phoenix police officer contacted the defendant on an unrelated criminal investigation. While speaking, the defendant became upset with the officer, began cursing at him and displaying MS-13 gang signs. Moreno asked to speak to the officer’s supervisor. A sergeant arrived and spoke with the defendant. The defendant continued flashing gang signs and took off his shirt to reveal large "MS-13" tattoos on his stomach and back. While talking to the sergeant, he made eye contact with the initial officer and made graphically violent, threatening statements toward him. He identified himself as a member of MS-13, and indicated that he wanted to do harm to officers, that he "makes one call and that's it," and that his threat should be taken seriously. The defendant was then arrested. He was interviewed by gang detectives, again admitting to being a high-ranking member of MS-13 in good standing, and that he earned his tattoos putting in work for the gang.
This is the first case of a known MS-13 member prosecuted by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for a gang-motivated or gang crime. Sentencing is scheduled for September 6, 2019.