MS-13 Gang Members Indicted on Multiple Murder and Attempted Murder Charges
Eleven of the 13 Defendants Face the Death Penalty or Mandatory Life in Prison
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Thirteen members of the street gang, La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, were recently indicted by a federal grand jury for their alleged roles in three murders and one attempted murder in Northern Virginia, among other charges. Court documents were unsealed today.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Colonel Edwin C. Roessler, Jr., Chief of Police of the Fairfax County Police Department; Earl L. Cook, Chief of Police of the Alexandria City Police Department; and Stephan M. Hudson, Chief of Police of the Prince William County Police Department made the announcement.
The 13 indicted defendants are currently in custody and awaiting further court proceedings. The defendants are: Pedro Anthony Romero Cruz, 28, residence unknown; Jose Lopez Torres, 25, of Falls Church, Virginia; Jaime Rosales Villegas, 30, of Richmond, Virginia; Juan Carlos Marquez Ayala, 21, of Falls Church; Omar DeJesus Castillo, 25, of Arlington, Virginia; Alvin Gaitan Benitez, 21, of Falls Church; Douglas Duran Cerritos, 18, of Falls Church; Christian Lemus Cerna, 18, of Falls Church; Araely Santiago Villanueva, 18, of Falls Church; Manuel Ernesto Paiz Guevara, 19, of Falls Church; Jose Del Cid, 18, of Alexandria; Jesus Alejandro Chavez, 24, of Alexandria; and Genaro Sen Garcia, 19, residence unknown.
According to the nine-count indictment, on or about October 7, 2013, in Fairfax County, Virginia, defendants Torres, Ayala, and Castillo, together with others known and unknown to the grand jury, knowingly and intentionally murdered Nelson Omar Quintanilla Trujillo. The three defendants, with the alleged assistance of Benitez, then buried the body of Trujillo.
The indictment also alleges on or about March 29, 2014, in Fairfax County, defendants Castillo, Benitez, Cerritos, Cerna, Villanueva, Guevara, and Del Cid, together with others known and unknown to the grand jury, knowingly and intentionally murdered Gerson Adoni Martinez Aguilar.
The indictment also alleges on or about June 19, 2014, in the City of Alexandria, defendants Del Cid, Chavez, and Garcia, together with others known and unknown to the grand jury, knowingly and intentionally murdered Julio Urrutia. The indictment alleges that Chavez killed Urrutia by shooting him with a firearm.
According to the indictment, from on or about September 29, 2013, through on or about October 1, 2013, in Woodbridge, Virginia, defendants Cruz, Torres, and Villegas, together with others known and unknown to the grand jury, knowingly and intentionally combined, conspired, confederated, and agreed together and with each other and others to murder an unnamed person.
Eleven of the defendants face the maximum penalty of death, or a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The remaining two defendants, Villegas and Cruz, face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on the attempted murder charge, in addition to a consecutive minimum sentence of 10 years in prison due to the possession of a firearm charge. The maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Fairfax County Police Department; Alexandria City Police Department; Prince William County Police Department; and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Immigrations Customs Enforcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen M. Campbell and Julia K. Martinez are prosecuting the case.
Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.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.