Gang members could face the death penalty for 2007 murder

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Two MS-13 gang members could face the death penalty after a federal grand jury in Alexandria indicted them Thursday for the 2007 death of a rival gang member.
 
The two Springfield men; Oscar Omar Lobo-Lopez, also known as AJoker, age 29, and Sergio Gerardo Amador, also known as ADado, age 28, were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering activity, murder in aid of racketeering activity and use of a firearm during a crime of violence causing death. Lobo-Lopez and Amador each face a maximum penalty of death.

According to the indictment, Lobo-Lopez and Amador, members of Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13, fatally shot Melvin Reyes, also known as APelon, on May 5, 2007.
 
The two MS-13 gang members killed Reyes because they believed that he was a member of the rival 18th Street gang. The rules of MS-13 require its members to attack and/or kill rival gang members.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Fairfax County Police Department, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. We will aggressively root out gang violence at its source, and arrest and prosecute those who engage in gang violence, said United States Attorney Chuck Rosenberg, who prosecuted the case.

Last year, Congress approved $1.5 million in gang task force funding for Department of Justice efforts in Northern Virginia. While much of the money, about $700,000, was directed towards a regional drug task force operating in the northern Shenandoah Valley, the rest of the funding was directed toward the gang effort and toward combating the spread of meth and other drugs, according to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th). 

The level of cooperation across jurisdictional lines and between law enforcement officials on all levels of government is what has made these task forces so successful, said Wolf, citing news reports saying that the international street gang MS-13 is unifying its violent members across the U.S., including the D.C. area, attempting to strengthen its criminal organization by creating a single organization.

Wolf has led the effort to secure federal funding for the task forces, which operate in 14 counties and cities from Alexandria west to Winchester. Wolf also credited the work of area social service departments, school systems and civic organizations and volunteer organizations.

There is more to dealing with this problem than arresting people, he said.  Suppression is a big part, but it has to be combined with education and prevention components or it wont work.  Everyone involved in the task forces understands that is what has made them so successful.

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