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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 20, 2019

MS-13 Gang Member and Associate Sentenced for Violent Assault

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Two Falls Church men were sentenced today to a combined six years in prison for their roles and participation in a violent gang-related assault of a victim with multiple bats.

“Barrera and Melendez both participated in a violent assault whose reasons were as senseless as the brutality of the crime itself,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “MS-13 follows a warped code of violence to enforce the gang’s rules, and seeks to instill fear in those who would dare cross them. The involvement of Barrera and Melendez demonstrate their contempt for the law and their total disregard for the safety of the people who make up this community. I want to thank our investigative partners for their terrific work on this case, working to bring these violent criminals to justice. Hopefully, this lengthy sentence will achieve some measure of justice for the victim and his family, who have suffered the awful consequences of MS-13’s violent ideology and practice.” 

According to court documents, in October 2018, Kevin Barrera Barrera, 20, a paro to the Silvas clique of MS-13, and Denis Oklides Martinez Melendez, 20, a member of the Chilangueras clique of MS-13, conspired with several other members and associates of MS-13 to lure the victim to James Lee Park, in Falls Church, so that they could assault the victim. Barrera, Melendez, and other members and associates of MS-13 believed the victim was cooperating with law enforcement, falsely representing himself as a member of MS-13, and disparaging the Silvas clique of MS-13. After luring the victim to the park under false pretenses, Barrera, Melendez, and approximately 10 other members and associates of MS-13 beat the victim with bats, fists, and feet for approximately three minutes.  As a result of the beating, the victim suffered multiple broken limbs and was hospitalized for several days.

“Today’s sentencing demonstrates that the FBI and the Department of Justice will work to ensure that our message is clear: We will not tolerate this brutal and pointless violence in our community,” said Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division. “The FBI, alongside our law enforcement partners, will continue to aggressively disrupt gang activity to prevent other acts of violence at the hands of MS-13.”

Martinez Melendez was sentenced to more than three years in prison, and Barrera was sentenced to three years in prison.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, and Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas U. Murphy II and Cristina Stam prosecuted the case.

This matter was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Safe Streets/HIDTA Task Force which is composed of FBI Agents, Agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, along with task force officers from the Fairfax County Police, the Prince William County Police, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Department, the Leesburg Police Department, the Alexandria City Police Department, the Vienna Police Department, the Fairfax City Police Department, and the Herndon Police Department.  The task force further coordinates its efforts with ATF, USMS and DEA, FBI-Baltimore, along with law enforcement officers from Prince George’s County and Montgomery County, Maryland   The task forces is charged with identifying, disrupting and dismantling the most egregious gangs operating in the Capital Region which includes MS-13, a transnational violent gang.  

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. 1:19-cr-129.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Public Affairs joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated September 20, 2019