An Omaha gang with roots in El Salvador did quite the background check on one prospective member.
They didn't do their homework on another.
Ultimately, that second gang member wore a wire and infiltrated MS-13 — a notoriously violent gang from El Salvador — helping investigators as they unraveled a plot to kill the first gang prospect.
Authorities allege that five members of MS-13 conspired to murder the prospective gang member after determining that he wasn't who he said he was. Federal authorities and Omaha police arrested the five during a sweep Tuesday.
The targeted gang prospect had attended a gathering of MS-13 members in Omaha this summer, prosecutor Nissa Jones said.
He told members that he was a member of MS-13 in El Salvador. Members checked out his story and decided he was lying.
They then set out to eliminate the man, Jones said, but authorities intervened before they could kill him.
Unknown to the gang members, one MS-13 member was wearing a wire and recording their meetings.
According to allegations in the sworn affidavit of a Homeland Security agent:
On Aug. 7, gang leader Carlos "Spanky" Guevara held a meeting of seven gang members at a gang member's house at 1725 S. 11th St.
Guevara declared that the gang was to use two MS-13 recruits to kill the wannabe gang member.
One gang member, Nicolas Cabrera-Barillas, worked as a bouncer at Tquila — a nightclub at 30th and L Streets — and had seen the target inside the club.
Guevara instructed Cabrera-Barillas that he was to notify his fellow gang members when the target set foot inside the club.
Guevara told the gang members to attempt to get the target into a vehicle, drive him to a rural location and have the recruits kill him.
If the target refused to go with them, Guevara ordered them to kill him inside the club.
Guevara wanted it done within 15 days.
About 11:30 p.m. Aug. 12, a gang member called the wired informant and told him their target was inside Tquila. They asked him to come help take out the target.
The informant immediately called police.
He then got another call from the gang members, saying that the target had refused to leave the club. In turn, the gang simply was going to wait for the target at his South Omaha residence.
An Omaha police officer then witnessed two men leave the club in a Toyota Camry and drive to the target's residence.
About 12:15 a.m. Aug. 13, officers approached the Camry parked outside the target's house. Inside were two MS-13 gang members: Carlos Lozano, 19, and Leonel Miranda-Munoz, 24.
Also inside: A .380-caliber firearm wrapped in a white towel and four rounds of ammunition in the center console.
Omaha police officers and federal agents on Tuesday rounded up five gang members they accuse in the plot: Guevara, Lozano and Miranda-Munoz, and Carlos Ramirez-Hernandez and Cabrera-Barillas, 32.
The five are charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Most are expected to appear in court Thursday.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine praised the coordinated investigation by the police, Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Marshals Service.
"Obviously, we're working hard with federal agencies to take some very violent gang members off of the streets," Kleine said.
Contact the writer: