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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 10, 2016

MS-13 Gangsters Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Jose Lopez Torres, 26, of Falls Church, and Jesus Alejandro Chavez, 25, of Alexandria, were both sentenced today to life in prison for their roles in two murders and one attempted murder in Northern Virginia, among other charges.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, on Oct. 1, 2013, Torres, along with co-conspirator Jaime Rosales Villegas and others drove to Gar-Field High School in Woodbridge to murder a fellow gang member.  However, one of the gang members in the car had not only alerted police to the murder plot, he also recorded phone calls and a meeting during which gang members, including Torres, Villegas, and Pedro Anthony Romero Cruz, who participated from prison on a contraband cell phone, planned the murder. The gang members’ vehicle was under surveillance that night, the victim had been warned to not be at school, and the informant was wearing a body wire.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, on Oct. 7, 2013, Torres, Omar DeJesus Castillo, Juan Carlos Marquez Ayala, Araely Santiago Villanueva, Jose Del Cid, and three others murdered fellow gang member Nelson Omar Quintanilla Trujillo. The gang believed Trujillo was a snitch, and so the gang members lured him to Holmes Run Park in Falls Church, and brutally killed him by stabbing him with knives and slashing him with a machete. When they were done they buried Trujillo in a shallow grave.  Several gang members returned a short time later and, with the assistance of Alvin Gaitan Benitez, reburied the body of Trujillo.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, on June 19, 2014, Jesus Alejandro Chavez, along with Del Cid and Genaro Sen Garcia murdered Julio Urrutia. Several gang members including Chavez, who had been released from prison a mere eight days earlier, were out looking for rival gang members when they approached a group of young men, flashed their gang signs, and challenged them about their gang affiliation. During the exchange Chavez pulled out a gun and shot Urrutia in the neck at point blank range.  Urrutia died from the gunshot wound two days later.

A total of 13 defendants were charged in this case. Of those, six defendants went to trial and were convicted of all charges on May 9. Six defendants pleaded guilty prior to trial, and one defendant was severed from the case and will have a separate trial at a later date. Each defendant convicted at trial faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Please see the table at the end of this press release for additional information on each defendant.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Chief of Police, Fairfax County Police Department; Earl L. Cook, Chief of Police, Alexandria City Police Department; and Barry M. Barnard, Chief of Police, Prince William County Police Department, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julia K. Martinez and Tobias D. Tobler are prosecuting the case.  The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the Fairfax County Police Department’s Gang Investigations Unit, the Prince William County Police Department, and the Alexandria City Police Department.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-306.

 

Name

Age, Hometown

Charges Convicted of

Sentencing Info

Pedro Anthony Romero Cruz

30, unknown

Conspiracy to Commit Murder in Aid of Racketeering; Possession of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence

30 years in prison

Jose Lopez Torres

26, Falls Church

Conspiracy, Attempted, and Murder in Aid of Racketeering; Possession of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence

Life sentence plus 30 years

Jaime Rosales Villegas

31, Richmond

Conspiracy and Attempted Murder in Aid of Racketeering; Possession of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence

272 months in prison

Juan Carlos Marquez Ayala

23, Falls Church

Murder in Aid of Racketeering

Life sentence

Omar Dejesus Castillo

27, Arlington

Two Counts of Murder in Aid of Racketeering

Two life sentences

Alvin Gaitan Benitez

23, Falls Church

Murder in Aid of Racketeering, Accessory After the Fact

September 9

Christian Lemus Cerna

20, Falls Church

Murder in Aid of Racketeering

September 9

Araely Santiago Villanueva

20, Falls Church

Two Counts of Murder in Aid of Racketeering

Life sentence

Manuel Ernesto Paiz Guevara

21, Falls Church

Murder in Aid of Racketeering

September 9

Jose Del Cid

20, Alexandria

Two Counts of Murder in Aid of Racketeering

Two life sentences

Jesus Alejandro Chavez

26, Alexandria

Murder in Aid of Racketeering; Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence Resulting in Death; Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Two life sentences plus 10 years

Genaro Sen Garcia

21, unknown

Murder in Aid of Racketeering

Life sentence

 

Topic: 
Violent Crimes
Updated August 23, 2016