SILVER SPRING, Md. - Two Purple Line workers had a gun pulled on them in October after they walked into a Silver Spring home that was being used as an MS-13 gang "Destroyer" hangout, according to police.
According to detectives, two Purple Line workers were inspecting the home at 807 University Blvd. East when they ran into two gang members and found the home filled with graffiti, trash and skeleton figures of Santa Muerte (Saint of Death).
Charging documents obtained by FOX 5 say on Oct. 17, the two workers were inspecting the home to prepare it for demolition and had cleared the first two floors when they heard footsteps and were approached by two young Hispanic men.
One of the men, identified as Jesus Antonio Ponce Flores, was wearing a black mask and was holding a small black square gun pointed toward the ground.
The workers told the suspects they were working and the suspect put his gun away, according to officials. The two workers left and shortly after called police. The suspects fled the home.
According to court documents, police in Montgomery County found the home covered in graffiti. There were gang signs and terms including "Locos" (an MS-13 identifier), "CL" (which police believe to mean Centrales Locos), "504" (the area code for Honduras) and "Santa Mu3rt3" (Santa Muerte spelled with 3 for "e").
In a bedroom, investigators say they found a shrine to Santa Muerte (a figure often shown as a Grim reaper-like skeleton) with lit candles, as well as a Santa Muerte skeleton idol hanging from a ceiling fan. There was a Halloween mask with blood painted on it in the home as well as graffiti of marijuana plants.
Detectives also say there was a large amount of trash including cigarettes, soda bottles and the home smelled of marijuana.
Police found and identified both original suspects with the help of the workers. Officials said the second of the two, David Lagunes-Bolanos was found at the home with a long machete-style fixed-blade knife, about 12-15 inches in length, found concealed in his right pant leg and secured to his waistband.
The first suspect, Ponce-Flores, was later found by Takoma Park police at University Boulevard East and Piney Branch Road and led police on a foot chase through an area apartment complex before being arrested and taken into custody.
There were also two other suspects, Ricardo Arauz-Pineda and Jose Herrera-Guzman, who were arrested by police for trespassing and burglarizing the home.
On Christmas Eve, Jose Herrera-Guzman was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds at 1000 block of Quebec Terrace in Silver Spring.
FOX 5 reached out to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement who released the following statement:
"ICE lodged detainers on three individuals -- Jesus Ponce-Flores, David Lagunes-Bolanos, and Jose Herrera-Guzman - with the Montgomery County Detention Center. ICE officials are not permitted to screen foreign nationals booked into Montgomery County's custody for removability, and as a result, were unable to determine the immigration status of a fourth individual who had not had any previous encounters with U.S. immigration officials. Jose Herrera-Guzman was released from custody on or about Dec. 22, without notification to ICE, even though a detainer was lodged in October."