MS-13 gang members charged with kidnapping and murder

Virginia

A federal grand jury returned an indictment Thursday charging death-eligible offenses against 11 members of MS-13 for their role in the kidnapping and murder of two juveniles in 2016, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia.

According to allegations in the indictment, in August and September 2016, Edenilson Misael Alfaro, who holds a high-ranking position in MS-13, authorized numerous lower-ranking members of MS-13’s Park View Locos Salvatrucha (PVLS) clique in Virginia to lure, kidnap, and murder two juveniles referred to as E.E.E.M. and S.A.A.T.

According to the indictment, Alfaro was notified in August 2016 that E.E.E.M. posted a photograph of a masked man to his Facebook account with the number 666 superimposed above his head.  

Alfaro then authorized and directed members of the PVLS clique to kill E.E.E.M. because he believed the Facebook post as evidence that E.E.E.M. was a member of the rival 18th Street gang.

Thursday’s indictment charges Alfaro and six other members and associates of the PVLS clique for their role in luring E.E.E.M. to Holmes Run Stream Valley Park in Fairfax County where E.E.E.M. was attacked and murdered.

The indictment further alleges that the defendants videotaped E.E.E.M.’s murder to prove to gang leadership that the murder had been completed and that they were worthy of promotion within the gang.

According to the indictment, in September 2016, Elmer Zelaya Martinez, who holds a high-ranking position in the PVLS clique, reported to Alfaro his belief that S.A.A.T. was cooperating with law enforcement.  

Alfaro authorized and directed members of the PVLS clique to kill S.A.A.T.

Thursday’s indictment charges all 11 defendants for their role in luring S.A.A.T. to Holmes Run Stream Valley Park, where S.A.A.T. was attacked and murdered.  

The indictment further alleges that the defendants videotaped S.A.A.T.’s murder as well to prove to gang leadership that the murder had been completed and that they were worthy of promotion in the gang.

The defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder in aid of racketeering activity, conspiracy to kidnap, murder in aid of racketeering activity, and kidnapping resulting in death.

If convicted of the substantive counts, the defendants may face the death penalty.

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The case was also investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force’s (OCDETF) Operation Devil’s Playground.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Matthew J. DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, and Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police, made the announcement after the indictment was returned.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rebeca H. Bellows and Alexander E. Blanchard are prosecuting the case.

Departments that provided significant assistance during the investigation: The U.S. Immigration and Customs Office’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force, the United States Marshal’s Service, Prince William County Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department, Prince George’s County Police Department, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, Alexandria Police Department, Leesburg Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations.

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