More than a year after MS-13 gang members were moved from USP Lee prison following an altercation, indictments were handed down by a federal grand jury in Abingdon.
Five inmates incarcerated at Lee were indicted on charges of conspiring to murder a fellow inmate at the prison, according to acting U.S. Attorney Daniel P. Bubar. In the five-count indictment, returned Tuesday, the grand jury charged Moris Flores, 32, Carlos Almonte, 30, Julie Chavez, 35, Angel Guevara, 39, and German Hernandez, 33, each with one count of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and one count of attempted murder.
In addition, the grand jury charged Flores, Guevara and Almonte with one count each of assault with a dangerous weapon and possession of contraband inside a federal prison.
On Jan. 15, 2020, Flores and Guevara entered the cell occupied by an inmate, identified only as “AZ,” while Almonte, Chavez and Hernandez surrounded the cell, preventing others from interfering and holding the door closed, prosecutors said in a news release Thursday.
Inside the cell, Flores and Guevara beat the inmate with metal shanks and closed fists, according to the release. The inmate sustained multiple stab wounds and puncture wounds, the release states.
Last year, the Associated Press reported that a brawl broke out between members of the MS-13 and Mexican Mafia gangs. The Bureau of Prisons at the time said the inmate was injured but survived the attack. No one else was injured, the agency said.
Fearing retaliation, officials moved some MS-13 inmates into more secure units at other federal high security prisons, the sources told the Associated Press. It wasn’t clear how many inmates were restricted, or how long they’d be separated from the general population.
USP Lee is located near Jonesville and houses about 1,500 men. Visitation was suspended following the brawl, but has continued to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The prison was also locked down a few months prior after an inmate assaulted a staff member, federal officials said. The staff member was hospitalized.