Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced Hector Daniel Villanueva-Cortes, a/k/a “Muertito,” age 23, a Honduran national residing in Hyattsville, Maryland, today to 18 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for illegal re-entry after having been deported from the United States. Judge Titus enhanced Villanueva-Cortes’ sentence upon finding that he was a member of the Mara Salvatruchas gang, commonly known as MS-13.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Chief Mark A. Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department.
According to Villanueva-Cortes’ plea agreement and other court documents, Villanueva-Cortes initially entered the United States illegally in June 2004, and was deported back to Honduras in April 2010. He illegally re-entered the United States sometime before May 2013, when he was found by HSI special agents and Prince George’s County Police Officers at a residence in Hyattsville in the company of a known MS-13 gang member. A search of the residence revealed evidence of gang activity. Additional investigation revealed that Villanueva-Cortes is a high ranking member of the Sailors Lokotes Westside Salvatruchas (SLWS), a clique of the MS-13 gang located in Southern Maryland. Prior to May 20, 2013, Prince George’s County Police officers had encountered Villanueva-Cortes on several occasions with other known MS-13 members.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised HSI Baltimore and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly O. Hayes and William D. Moomau, who prosecuted the case.