Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis sentenced Reynaldo Alexis Granados-Vasquez, a/k/a “Fuego,” age 23, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, today to 20 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for a kidnapping conspiracy.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) Baltimore Office; Acting Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
“With today’s sentence, three MS-13 members and associates will now be prevented from inflicting any further harm on our community for years to come,” said United States Attorney Robert K. Hur. “This case and our ongoing work with our law enforcement partners to bring other gang members to justice, demonstrates our unflagging commitment to eliminate MS-13 and its campaign of violence.”
According to Granada-Vasquez’s plea agreement, he conspired with Jose Israel Melendez-Rivera, a/k/a “Liar,” and Neris Moreno-Martinez to trick a victim, Jordy Mejia, to travel from New Jersey to Maryland, under the false promise that Mejia would meet a woman. As detailed in court documents, Granados-Vasquez, Melendez-Rivera, and Moreno-Martinez were all members and associates of MS-13.
MS-13 is a gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, with members operating in the State of Maryland, including Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Frederick County, and throughout the United States. In Maryland and elsewhere MS-13 members are organized in “cliques,” smaller groups that operate in a specific city of region. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence, both to maintain membership and discipline within the gang and against rival gangs. One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, known as “chavalas,” whenever possible.
According to the plea agreement, Moreno-Martinez traveled to Maryland on October 15, 2016. Later that day, Mejia also traveled to Maryland. Granados-Vasquez admitted that he traveled with Melendez-Rivera and Moreno-Martinez to a wooded area in Maryland. As a result of Mejia being tricked into coming from New Jersey to Maryland, Mejia was murdered in that same wooded area.
Melendez-Rivera, age 21, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, was sentenced on June 17, 2019 to 20 years in federal prison. Moreno-Martinez, age 22, of New Jersey, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison on June 25, 2019.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended HSI, the Montgomery County Police Department, and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney Office for their work in the investigation and thanked the Gaithersburg Police Department and the Guttenburg, New Jersey Police Department for their assistance. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas P. Windom and Timothy F. Hagan, Jr., who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.
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