*Press Release From Avery County Sheriff's Office*
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 and 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 credible 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.