Alleged MS-13 Member Held Without Bail for Murder

Miguel Lopez-Abrego | MCPD

The defendant facing first-degree murder charges for killing a man then burying him in Wheaton Regional Park will remain jailed without bail after a decision by a Montgomery County District Court judge Wednesday.

Miguel Angel Lopez-Abrego, a 19-year-old who is believed to be an MS-13 member, was arrested Nov. 11 near Banner Elk, North Carolina, after a raid by U.S. Marshals, prosecutor Kelly McGann said at a court hearing.

He is believed to be an MS-13 member, and the first person to thrust a knife into the victim, McGann said.

“There is no possibility he wouldn’t be a danger to the community,” McGann told Judge Marina Lolley Sabett in arguing for Lopez-Abrego’s continued confinement.

The charging documents describe a ranking MS-13 member, identified only as “INF,” as an informant in the case. INF said he and nine other MS-13 gang members planned and took part in the murder. Even so, police have not “conclusively” identified the victim, the charging documents say.

“It’s a very complicated investigation with a lot of moving parts,” Ramon Korionoff, courts spokesman, said outside the courthouse.

His lawyer, public defender John Levine, said Lopez-Abrego waived extradition after he was arrested.

The charging documents say the assailants stabbed the body more than 100 times, including decapitating and dismembering it, and removing the victim’s heart.

McGann said he attended a “local high school.” Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman Derek Turner said Lopez-Abrego had withdrawn from Northwood High School in 2016.

INF, the police informant, identified one of the participants in the Wheaton park murder as “Miguel,” whose nickname was “Timido,” the Spanish word for shy. He identified Timido from a police photograph, the charging document says.

In September, INF needed only minutes to lead detectives to the victim’s shallow grave in the park’s wooded area, the charging document says. He said Lopez-Abrego helped to dig the grave where the victim was buried, and that the defendant used a walkie-talkie to inform the others that the victim had arrived at the park. INF also provided information for gang-related homicide investigations in Frederick and Anne Arundel counties, the charging document says.

With the body exhumed, it was sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which ruled the death a homicide.

Police previously said the victim was a 5-foot, 2-inch Hispanic male, weighing 126 pounds, with short, dark brown hair. He was missing a bottom tooth near the front of his mouth. He might have lived in Annapolis, police said. He died between December 2016 to March 2017, police said.

He was wearing a men’s size large, gray sweatshirt, with the words, “First United Methodist Church Laurel” written on the left chest of the sweatshirt.

Under the sweatshirt he was wearing a men’s size large, gray, hooded, long-sleeve shirt. The brand was American Eagle.

He was wearing men’s size medium, black sweatpants. The brand was Adam Levine. Under the sweatpants he was wearing men’s size large blue, athletic shorts. There was the number “19” on the left side of the shorts and a stripe on the right leg. He was wearing black ankle socks.

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About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug


One Response to “Alleged MS-13 Member Held Without Bail for Murder”

  1. On November 23, 2017 at 12:07 pm responded with... #

    If found guilty, life in prison would be too easy for him. He would likely kill more people in prison and/or indoctrinate other young men to follow his sick mind.
    If true, a quick death penalty would be a lucky sentence for him. Sick man who should not be allowed to twist the minds of other inmates.

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