Three Alexandria residents were sentenced to mandatory life in prison for their role in a kidnapping, murder and extortion conspiracy in Northern Virginia, the U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Virginia announced in a news release. The three were part of ten people, consisting of both MS-13 members and their associates, charged for their roles in the crime.
Evidence presented at trial established that in April and May 2016 MS-13 members and associates Lelis Ezequiel Tremino-Tobar, 21, of Alexandria; Carlos Jose Benitez Pereira, 22, of Alexandria; Daniel Oswaldo Flores-Maravilla, 20, of Alexandria; Dublas Aristides Lazo, 28, of Leesburg; Juan Carlos Guadron-Rodriguez, 23, of Leesburg; Andres Alexander Velasquez-Guevara, 22, of Leesburg; Shannon Marie Sanchez, 36, of Leesburg; Miguel Zelaya-Gomez, 20, of Leesburg; Wilmar Javier Viera-Gonzalez, 24, of Leesburg and Manuel Antonio Centeno, 34, of Leesburg targeted Carlos Otero-Henriquez, an 18-year-old Leesburg resident, because they believed he was a member of a rival gang.
The gang members lured Otero-Henriquez into a vehicle that was occupied by Lazo, Tremino-Tobar, Pereira, Flores-Maravilla, Centeno, Viera-Gonzalez and Zelaya-Gomez under the pretense that the car was going to a party. The group drove Otero-Henriquez to a quarry near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and severely beat, restrained and killed him, stabbing him more than 50 times with a knife. The group then left his body in a ditch and fled the scene. An associate of the crime helped the group burn their clothes and destroy evidence of the crime.
Guadron-Rodriguez, Viera-Gonzalez and Zelaya-Gomez then were involved in a conspiracy to extort a victim residing in Leesburg. The defendants threatened violence to the victim and the victim’s family unless he or she made payments to the gang. The conspiracy led to the group’s arrest after the family of the victim contacted law enforcement. The victim then wore an FBI body wire to record extortion payments made to Guadron-Rodriguez and Zelaya-Gomez in March and April 2016. FBI surveilled both interactions to collect evidence and ensure safety of the victim.
Six defendants went to trial and were convicted of all charges and four defendants pled guilty prior to trial. The Alexandria residents, Tremino-Tobar, Benitez Pereira and Flores-Maravilla, all received mandatory life in prison for two charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, one charge of murder in aid of racketeering and one charge of kidnapping resulting in death.
“The hallmark of MS-13 is extreme violence. This brutal kidnapping and murder is a tragic reminder of the impact MS-13 has on communities here in Northern Virginia,” Tracy Doherty-McCormick, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a news release. “My hope is that our efforts to investigate and prosecute this case will send a clear message: Violence will be aggressively prosecuted. I want to thank our trial team and investigative partners for their terrific work on this case and for bringing these criminals to justice.”