MS-13 gang member arrested near Yuma now faces California murder charge

September 18, 2008 - 4:06PM
A reputed member of a violent Central American gang previously arrested in the Yuma area for illegal entry now faces prosecution in a 1998 California murder.

Nelson Antonio Garcia, 35, identified as a member of Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13, was arrested Aug. 18 by Yuma sector Border Patrol agents in the area of County 8th Street and the Colorado River after he illegally entered the country, the patrol said previously.

Border Patrol officials informed authorities in San Francisco of his arrest after a fingerprint check linked him to the murder, the patrol said previously.

A warrant was issued by San Francisco authorities for Garcia’s arrest in connection with the murder of Daniel Solorzano in California, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix said.

The Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, is considered by law enforcement to be one of the most violent gangs in the nation.

Ben Vik, a spokesman for the Yuma sector, previously said Mara Salvatrucha originated in Los Angeles in the 1980s. It was established, he said, primarily to protect Salvadoran immigrants from other, more established gangs of Los Angeles.

He said as the members of the gang were deported, either because of their illegal status in the United States or for committing crimes as non-citizens, they started recruiting members in their home countries and the gang grew in popularity and took hold in many Central America countries.