News and Press Releases

MS-13 Gang Member Sentenced to Life in Prison for Sex Trafficking a Child

October 28, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Jose Ciro Juarez-Santamaria, 24, an illegal alien from El Salvador, was sentenced today to life in prison for prostituting a 12-year-old female to clients throughout northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

            Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge for ICE’s, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Washington, D.C., made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Liam O’Grady.

            Juarez-Santamaria was convicted by a federal jury on July 28, 2011, for conspiracy, sex trafficking, and transportation of a minor for prostitution.

            “This depraved MS-13 member preyed on one of society’s most vulnerable victims – a 12-year-old girl,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “He plied this child with liquor and marijuana to coerce her to have sex multiple times with multiple men, including fellow MS-13 members, sometimes involving simultaneous sex acts with several customers. With today’s sentence Mr. Juarez-Santamaria will spend the rest of his life behind bars, while his child victim will spend the rest of her life working through the pain he inflicted. Through aggressive efforts by the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, we’re working together to fight this reprehensible form of exploitation.”

            “The callous, self-serving actions of Mr. Juarez-Santamaria and his MS-13 accomplices will have long-lasting consequences for the young victim in this case,” said ICE HSI SAC Torres. “The sentence handed down today reflects the resolve of ICE HSI and the law enforcement community to remain united in their efforts at protecting the people of the D.C. metro area from criminal activity perpetrated by transnational gangs.”

            According to court records and evidence at trial, Juarez-Santamaria was an illegal alien who had joined MS-13 while in El Salvador. He was a member of the Pinos Locos clique of MS-13 and known by the gang as “Sniper.”  At a Halloween party in Oxon Hill, Md., on Oct. 31, 2009, Juarez-Santamaria met a 12-year-old runaway who asked for his help in finding a place to stay.  Instead, the very next day, Juarez-Santamaria began prostituting the victim throughout the metro-D.C. area.

            The testimony at trial showed that Juarez-Santamaria and his fellow gang members constantly called customers in an effort to increase business.  The victim was prostituted from October to December 2009 and was providing sex for money every day of the week. To keep the victim compliant, Juarez-Santamaria and others would supply her with alcohol and marijuana. 
The prostitution took place at various businesses, homes, apartments, and hotels in the Northern Virginia area. Juarez-Santamaria also admitted to having sex with the victim and allowed MS-13 gang members to have sex with her free of charge.

            Evidence at trial showed that Juarez-Santamaria generally charged $40 for 15 minutes of sex, but he would sometimes charge more depending on what the customer wanted.  At times, he would take the victim to a location where customers would be lined up waiting for her.

            This case was investigated by the Transnational Gang Group of ICE, with assistance from the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force.  Assistant United States Attorney Patricia T. Giles and Special Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Frank prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

Founded in 2004, the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaboration of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies – along with nongovernmental organizations – dedicated to combating human trafficking and related crimes.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at or on



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