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Press Release

MS-13 Members Plead Guilty to Violent 2018 Attack

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Two MS-13 members pleaded guilty today to their respective roles in a December 2018 shooting and stabbing that occurred in Four Mile Run Park on the border of Alexandria and Arlington.

According to court documents, Juan Francisco Rivera-Pineda, 25, and Jefferson Noe Amaya, 24, both Alexandria residents, are members of the Pinos Locos Salvatrucha (PLS) clique of MS-13, which operates in the northern Virginia area of Arlington County and Alexandria City known as Chirilagua.

On Dec. 30, 2018, Rivera-Pineda and Amaya shot and stabbed a 40-year-old victim while the victim and his two friends were in Four Mile Run Park. The victim’s nephew had been warned by PLS not to sell drugs in PLS territory without paying rent. On the night of the shooting, Rivera-Pineda, Amaya, and a third unidentified suspect confronted the victim in the park, shooting him in the throat and arm, and stabbing him in the back. The victim was transported to the hospital where he underwent surgery and survived.

Rivera-Pineda and Amaya each pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence and face a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison when sentenced on April 24. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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 M. Jay Farr, Arlington County Chief of Police, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Morris Parker and Natasha Smalky are prosecuting the case.

This matter was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Safe Streets/HIDTA Task Force – Northern Virginia, which is composed of FBI Agents, along with Detectives from the Fairfax County Police, Alexandria City Police, Prince William County Police, Arlington County Police, Alexandria Police Department, Alexandria Sheriff’s Office, Vienna Police Department, Herndon Police Department, along with Agents from the Department of Homeland Security Enforcement Removal Operations, the USMS, and the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force.  The task force is charged with investigating, disrupting and dismantling the most egregious and violent gangs operating in Northern Virginia to include MS-13.

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-225.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Public Affairs

Updated February 27, 2020

Violent Crime