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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 5, 2022

18th Street Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping Conspiracy Leading to the Death of a 19-Year-Old Woman

The Defendant also Instructed a Co-conspirator to Hide the Murder Weapon

Greenbelt, Maryland – Jordan Moreno, a/k/a “Joker”, age 23, a Honduran national recently of Washington, DC, pleaded guilty yesterday to federal kidnapping charges related to the death of Victim 1, a 19-year old woman.  Moreno had previously pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County to First Degree Murder in Victim 1’s death.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Acting Special Agent in Charge Ryeshia Holley of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore Field Office; and Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD).

According to his guilty plea, beginning in October 2019, Moreno and other associates of the Tiny Locos Surenos (“TLS”) clique of the 18th Street gang conspired to kidnap and murder Victim 1 because Moreno and other co-conspirators believed she was associating with members of MS-13. MS-13 is a transnational gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador.

In preparation for the murder, Moreno devised a plan to murder Victim 1, recruited other 18th Street gang members to assist, and selected a wooded area near Hyattstown in Montgomery County, Maryland in which to kill Victim 1. Additionally, Moreno contacted a TLS leader for authorization to kill Victim 1. Moreno and his co-conspirators planned and executed Victim 1’s murder to increase their status within the 18th Street gang.

To lure Victim 1 to her death, one of Moreno’s co-conspirators communicated with the woman on a social media platform in October and November 2019 under the pretext that he wanted to socialize with her. Eventually, Victim 1 and the co-conspirator arranged to meet on the evening of November 21, 2019.  Moreno and three co-conspirators then traveled together to pick up Victim 1 in Washington, D.C before traveling to Maryland. Once they arrived at the wooded area near Hyattstown, a juvenile co-conspirator and Moreno, in turn, used a single pistol to shoot Victim 1 in the face and head, killing her.  Following the murder, Moreno directed another co-conspirator to hide the firearm.

Moreno faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison for conspiracy to kidnap.  U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm has scheduled sentencing for October 28, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI, HSI, and MCPD for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron also thanked the Maryland State Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam K. Ake and Trial Attorney Danbee C. Kim of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section who are prosecuting the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

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Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Alexis Abbott (301) 344-4342
Updated August 5, 2022