Man Paid to Keep Children Out of Gangs Among Those Charged in Grisly MS-13 Killings in L.A. Area

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A poster shows defendants in custody as law enforcement officials announce the unsealing of a federal racketeering indictment targeting Los Angeles-based members of the MS-13 gang on July 16, 2019. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A poster shows defendants in custody as law enforcement officials announce the unsealing of a federal racketeering indictment targeting Los Angeles-based members of the MS-13 gang on July 16, 2019. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

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He showed up at Bible study every Thursday and volunteered at peacemaking soccer matches for members of MS-13, his tattoos betraying his own history with the notorious gang.

As a “peace ambassador” for a Los Angeles nonprofit funded with public money, it was Wilfredo Vides’ job to steer young people clear of gangs. For those who’d joined one, his role was to convince them to leave, as he had.

Or as he said he had.

Vides was one of 22 individuals arrested last month in a federal takedown of MS-13’s Fulton clique, a cell of the transnational gang that claims swaths of the San Fernando Valley as its turf and is accused of murdering and dismembering its enemies in the mountains above Los Angeles. Vides was far from the reformed gang member he claimed to be, authorities say.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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