High Ranking MS-13 Leader Sentenced to Life Imprisonment
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A White Post man was sentenced yesterday to life imprisonment for his leadership role in multiple violent crimes, including a 2017 murder in Charlottesville and two 2019 attempted murders in Prince William County.
According to court documents and evidence presented during a three-week trial of his co-defendants, Andy Tovar, 33, was the First Word or leader of the Guanacos Lil Cycos Salvatruchas (GLCS) clique of MS-13. Tovar is considered to be one of the highest-ranking MS-13 members in the United States.
In July 2017, Tovar authorized members and associates of the GLCS clique to travel from Prince William County to Charlottesville to murder an individual the GLCS clique believed was a rival gang member (Victim-1). At Tovar’s direction, on or about July 3, 2017, four members of the GLCS clique stabbed Victim-1 to death over 140 times using a machete and knives before they dumped Victim-1’s body in a river, burned his car, and fled back to Prince William County. Victim-1 was struck so hard by the machete that the machete’s handle broke. The following day, Tovar celebrated the Fourth of July with two of his co-conspirators and congratulated them on what they had done for the clique.
In March 2019, Tovar’s co-defendant, Roberto Cruz Moreno, 22, aka “Solo,” of Woodbridge, who was a “chequeo” or soldier in the GLCS clique under Tovar, picked up three other members or associates of GLCS and Victim-2 and drove them to an isolated area in Bristow. There, one associate of GLCS, using a firearm supplied by Tovar, shot Victim-2 multiple times and another associate of GLCS attempted to slit Victim-2’s throat and stabbed him because members and associates of GLCS believed Victim-2 was disrespecting MS-13. Following the attempted murder, Cruz Moreno fled the scene with the three other GLCS participants and drove them to his residence. Tovar informed MS-13 leadership in El Salvador of this attempted murder and mocked the GLCS associate who shot Victim-2 for being unable to kill Victim-2.
In April 2019, local law enforcement officers in Fairfax County found Cruz Moreno in possession of the same firearm used to shoot Victim-2, and several grams of packaged cocaine in his vehicle with three other associates of GLCS. Cruz Moreno obtained the cocaine from Tovar and had been selling the cocaine on behalf of the clique.
In July 2019, Tovar’s co-defendant, Marvin Torres, 21, aka “Trance,” of Manassas, a chequeo in GLCS, identified Victim-3 as a rival gang member living in GLCS-controlled territory, and provided photographs of Victim-3 to GLCS members, including Tovar.
On August 3 and 4, 2019, Tovar’s co-defendant Jose Rosales Juarez, aka “Gears,” 27, of Manassas, a “paro,” an entry level member of the GLCS clique, surveilled Victim-3 at a restaurant in Manassas, and discussed plans to kill Victim-3 with Tovar.
On August 12, 2019, Tovar’s co-defendant, Kevin Perez Sandoval, 21, aka “Nocturno,” of Warrenton, an “observacion”, or lower level soldier in the GLCS clique, and two members or associates of GLCS observed Victim-3 at a laundromat in Manassas and sought Tovar’s permission to kill Victim-3 at the laundromat. After Tovar granted permission, Perez Sandoval drove the two members or associates of MS-13 to retrieve a firearm, and back to the laundromat area, where Victim-3 was shot twice before Perez Sandoval drove them from the scene of the shooting. Tovar then directed his co-conspirators in evading law enforcement detection by relaying information from Torres, who was watching law enforcement at the site of the shooting, and helping the co-conspirators find new transportation and a hotel room with the assistance of Rosales Juarez.
Tovar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering activity, attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity, and using and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, all in relation to Victim-3. Tovar also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Derek Gordon, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Homeland Security Investigations Washington, D.C. field office; Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division; Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division; Colonel Sean Reeves, Chief of Albemarle County Police; Douglas W. Keen, Chief of Manassas City Police; Peter Newsham, Chief of Prince William County Police; Amy Ashworth, Commonwealth Attorney for Prince William County; and Kevin Davis, Chief of Fairfax County Police, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga.
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas U. Murphy and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas J. Patterson, and Amanda Lowe prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:20-cr-18.
Updated September 28, 2022