HOUSTON -- Nine alleged MS-13 gang members have been arrested and charged with several murder cases in Houston, Galveston and Liberty County.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo called MS-13 the most violent gang in the area and said that's why they're ramping up efforts to put them behind bars.
"When they do act out, they're very violent. It's not enough for MS-13 to do a drive-by shooting," Acevedo said. "They like to lure their victims into the woods with the promise of smoking some dope — talk about your next hit. And next thing you know, it's a pretty brutal way to go when someone's chopping you up with a machete and beating your head in with a baseball bat like it's a watermelon."
LA UNION MURDER
Most of the victims were members or associates of the gang, but Johnny Paramo Torres was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
On August 4, The 25-year-old was picking up food at the La Union restaurant on Wilcrest when he got into an argument with some MS-13 gang members.
They shot him several times in the parking lot, according to investigators.
Jairo Salvador Licona-Cardenas, Elida Lucia Jovel Medrano and a juvenile were arrested and charged in connection with the fatal shooting of Torres.
A warrant has been filed for a fourth suspect who was not identified.
CULLINAN PARK MURDER
On June 6, Victor Castro-Martinez, 25, was lured to a wooded area in the 6700 block of Long Drive near Cullinan Drive. Police say he was hacked to death with a machete.
Marlon Alexander Miranda-Moran, 19, Wilson Jose Ventura-Mejia, 22, Miguel Aguilar-Ochoa, 33 and Carlos Henriquez-Torres, 18, were arrested and charged in the death of Castro-Martinez.
Walter Alexander Mejia and Jimmy Villalobes-Gomez were arrested and charged in another case out of Liberty County. They have charges pending in the Castro-Martinez murder case.
Additional arrests are expected in the case.
LIBERTY COUNTY MURDER
Another gang member was taken to a wooded area in Liberty County on July 3. He was beaten with a baseball bat, then killed with a machete.
Acevedo said it was a revenge killing.
"He went with the suspects to a heavily-wooded area thinking he would only receive punishment because he wanted out of the gang," Acevedo said.
The victim's body wasn't found until August 6.
Walter Alexander Mejia and Villalobes-Gomez are charged in that case.
On August 30, the body of a young female was found buried in a wooded area in the 5300 block of W. Fuqua.
She was not a gang member but known to be an associate of the gang.
Investigators said they know of several suspects and charges are pending in the case.
Another body was found buried in the same area of W. Fuqua on August 1.
Police say that victim was murdered in Galveston before they drove him to Houston to hide the body.