1000 x 90

MS-13 Gang Member Arrested In Avery County November 4 Is A Suspect In Brutal Murder In Maryland

Miguel “Timido” Angel Lopez-Abrego

The Washington Post is reporting that a MS-13 gang member, Miguel “Timido” Angel Lopez-Abrego, 19, that was arrested in Avery County on November 4 in the Banner Elk area is a suspect in the brutal murder of an unknown victim.

“The victim had been stabbed over one-hundred times, decapitated, dismembered, and his heart had been excised from his chest and thrown into the grave,” detectives wrote in court papers.

The Post reported that as many as 10 members of the MS-13 gang lured a man into a park in Wheaton, Md. And stabbed him over 100 times.

“Lopez-Abrego is noted as being the first individual to thrust a knife into the chest of the decedent,” Assistant State’s Attorney Kelly McGann said in court. Police continue to search for other suspects.

On Nov. 4, a group of about 10 agents from the U.S. Marshals Service and the local sheriff’s office arrived at a condominium near Banner Elk. The Avery County Special Response Team (SRT) in conjunction and cooperation with the United States Marshals Service executed a high risk fugitive apprehension in the Banner Elk area of Avery County on Nov. 4. Taken into custody was Milton A. Portillo-Rodriguez, a known and verified MS13 gang member from Maryland area for murder.

During the apprehension of Portillo-Rodriguez, Miguel A. Lopez-Abrego (also known as Miguel A. Lopez-Herrera) was arrested for resist-obstruct-or delay an officer. An investigation of Lopez-Abrego has found he is wanted in a murder in Montgomery County, Maryland. Avery County Sheriff’s Office has issued fugitive warrants for Lopez-Abrego for the murder in Montgomery County and is cooperating and assisting detectives from that jurisdiction.

The Post reported in an interview with Avery County Sheriff Frye that the three alleged gang members found in the apartment hadn’t made much of an impact. “They were new arrivals, and no one really knew who they were,” he said.


A press release from the Avery Sheriff Department stated “Everything went as planned this morning and we were able to take a really bad guy off the streets who thought that he could hide in our rural community, he thought wrong” stated Sheriff Kevin Frye of Avery County.

The Avery County Sheriff’s office has concluded the investigation into the fugitive status of all the persons located during the arrest of Milton Portillo Rodriguez. Edwin Dario Ruiz has been in custody is now charged as being a fugitive from justice from Montgomery County, Maryland for assault in the First Degree. This is the third confirmed MS-13 gang member who was arrested in Avery County for crimes committed in Maryland. Ruiz is 19 years of age and states his nationally as El Salvador.

The Avery Sheriff’s Office believes this is an isolated occurrence and does not believe there is any creditable or substantial MS-13 or any other gang activity in Avery County. It is known that the three people arrested, Milton Portillo Rodriguez, Miguel Lopez-Herrera and Edwin Dario Ruiz are all wanted from Maryland , all arrived just a few days before they were arrested and were all part of MS-13 in or near Montgomery County, Maryland. If there were substantial gang activity of any kind in Avery County, there would be visible signs and activity which would be obvious to people in our area. We believe these people knew that there were job opportunities in our area that would allow them to flee from the crimes they committed in Maryland and hopefully escape detection. We were very fortunate to get information through the U.S. Marshal’s service and work with them to apprehend these fugitives so quickly but we, as all law enforcement, depend on every person to be aware and report any suspicious activity. These people happened to belong to a Latino gang but it could have very easily been a White supremacist gang member or an African-American gang member who just comes in our area to escape justice from another state.   We all must be vigilant in looking for anything suspicious and report it to law enforcement.

Read the Washington Post story here: