MS-13 Member Sentenced To 68 Months In Federal Prison For Conspiring To Rob Two Taxi Cab Drivers
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel sentenced El Salvadoran national Kevin Fernandez-Serrano, age 23, of Langley Park, Maryland, to 68 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for leading a conspiracy to rob taxi cab drivers. At his sentencing hearing on November 8, 2018, Fernandez-Serrano admitted that he is a member of the MS-13 gang.
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 (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department.
According to his plea agreement, Fernandez-Serrano and his co-conspirators planned to, and did rob, drivers for taxi dispatch services operating in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. Fernandez-Serrano directed the co-conspirators to commit the robberies; he provided weapons, including knives and a gun, for use during the robberies; he acted as the getaway driver after the robberies; and he collected and distributed proceeds from the robberies, including using the proceeds to benefit MS-13.
Specifically, on February 10, 2017, Fernandez-Serrano drove three co-conspirators to a donut shop in Wheaton, Maryland, for the purpose of robbing a taxi cab driver. Fernandez-Serrano provided the co-conspirators with knives to use during the robbery. One of the co-conspirators called a company to request a taxi. The taxi arrived a short time later and the three co-conspirators got into the vehicle and directed the driver to a dead-end street near a park, where they robbed the driver, pressing the knives to the victim’s stomach and neck. The conspirators stole $350 in cash, the victim’s cellular phone, gold chain, watch, and credit card. The conspirators fled through the park, then entered the getaway car driven by Fernandez-Serrano. Fernandez-Serrano collected the cash and stolen items, kept some for himself, and distributed items, including the victim’s phone and watch, to his co-conspirators. Fernandez-Serrano and the co-conspirators used the victim’s credit card to make a purchase at a convenience store in Silver Spring, Maryland.
On February 17, 2017, Fernandez-Serrano drove two co-conspirators in a stolen vehicle to a dead-end street in Hyattsville, where he called a different company to request a cab. When the cab driver arrived, Fernandez-Serrano pulled his car into the road, blocking the taxi driver from leaving, and the co-conspirators approached and entered the taxi. One held a gun to the victim’s head and the other held a knife to the victim’s ribs, demanding that the victim give them everything he had. The co-conspirators stole $75 in cash, the victim’s cellular phone, and other personal items. The co-conspirators demanded the passcode for the phone and threatened to shoot the victim if the driver lied about the passcode. The co-conspirators got out of the car, threw the car keys to the side of the road, entered the stolen vehicle being driven by Fernandez-Serrano, and they all drove away.
Fernandez-Serrano was later arrested. He fled when officers attempted to apprehend him, dropping two cellular phones, including the one he used to call the taxi company on February 17th.
Co-defendants Frank Anthony Diaz-Navarro, age 22, and Carlos Alfredo Garay-Ramirez, age 19, both of Silver Spring, Maryland, and Jose Ernesto Saravia-Cubias, age 24, of Greenbelt, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the robbery conspiracy. Diaz-Navarro was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison. Saravia-Cubias and Garay-Ramirez are scheduled to be sentencing on November 15 and November 16, 2018, respectively. The defendants are all El Salvadoran nationals and are expected to be deported after serving their federal sentences.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. PSN was reinvigorated in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended HSI, and the Montgomery and Prince George’s County Police Departments for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy F. Hagan, Jr., who is prosecuting the case.
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