Baltimore, Maryland – A federal jury convicted Jose Domingo Ordonez-Zometa, a/ok/a “Felon,” age 33, of Landover Hills, Maryland; Jose Rafael Ortega-Ayala, a/ok/a Impaciente,” age 30, of Greenbelt, Maryland; and Jose Henry Hernandez-Garcia, a/ok/a “Paciente,” age 29, of Annandale, Virginia, for racketeering and homicide in support of racketeering conspiracies, for committing homicide in support of racketeering, and for conspiracy to destroy and conceal proof linked to their participation in La Mara Salvatrucha, a transnational felony enterprise often known as MS-13.
The convictions have been introduced by United States Legal professional for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Assistant Legal professional Common Kenneth A. Well mannered, Jr. of the Justice Division’s Legal Division; Particular Agent in Cost Wayne Jacobs of the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Washington Area Workplace Legal Division; Particular Agent in Cost James C. Harris of Homeland Safety Investigations, Baltimore Workplace; Stafford County Sheriff David P. Decatur; Chief Malik Aziz of the Prince George’s County Police Division; and Chief Kevin Davis of the Fairfax County Police Division.
MS-13, one of many largest avenue gangs in the US, is a nationwide and worldwide gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador and different central American international locations. Branches or “cliques” of MS-13, function all through the US, together with in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The defendants have been members and associates of the Los Ghettos Criminales Salvatruchas (“LGCS” or “Ghettos”) clique of MS-13.
The proof on the two-week trial established that between August 2018 and April 2019, the defendants participated within the MS-13 felony enterprise by partaking in acts of violence, together with homicide, the destruction of proof, and witness tampering, amongst different crimes. The felony acts have been dedicated by gang members to extend MS-13’s energy within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan space, together with Maryland and Virginia.
Always of this conspiracy, members of MS-13 have been anticipated to guard the identify, fame, and standing of the gang from rival gang members and different individuals. To guard the gang and to reinforce its fame, MS-13 members have been anticipated to make use of any means essential to pressure respect from those that confirmed disrespect, together with acts of intimidation and violence. MS-13 had mottos in step with its guidelines, beliefs, expectations and fame together with “mata, viola, controla,” which interprets as, “kill, rape, management,” and “ver, oir y callar,” which implies, “see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing.” One of many principal guidelines of MS-13 is that its members should assault and kill rivals, sometimes called “chavalas,” every time attainable.
MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence each to take care of membership and self-discipline inside the gang, in addition to towards rival gang members. Participation in felony exercise by a member, notably in violent acts directed at rival gangs or as directed by gang management, will increase the respect accorded to that member, leading to that member sustaining or rising his place within the gang, and opens the door to promotion to a management place.
As detailed through the trial, Ordonez-Zometa was the chief of the LCGS clique. Ordonez-Zometa known as a gathering of the LCGS clique at his home on March 8, 2019, to debate clique issues, together with current contacts that an LCGS clique member (Sufferer 1) had with the police. The defendants, Sufferer 1, and different MS-13 members participated within the assembly, throughout which Ordonez-Zometa questioned Sufferer 1 about his/her cooperation with police.
Throughout the questioning, the defendants and a minimum of one different MS-13 member assaulted Sufferer 1, primarily based on their incorrect suspicions that Sufferer 1 was cooperating with legislation enforcement. In addition they assaulted one other MS-13 member who tried to defend Sufferer 1. The assault culminated with Ordonez-Zometa, as LGCS clique chief, ordering that Sufferer 1 be killed. Ortega-Ayala, Hernandez-Garcia and different MS-13 members then stabbed and murdered Sufferer 1 in Ordonez-Zometa’s basement.
In keeping with trial testimony, after the homicide, Ordonez-Zometa ordered Ortega-Ayala, Hernandez-Garcia, and different LCGS clique members and co-conspirators, to hide and destroy proof of the homicide. Ortega-Ayala and different MS-13 members transported the physique of the sufferer to a secluded location in Stafford County, Virginia, and set the sufferer’s physique on fireplace, then destroyed and hid proof of the homicide from the car used to move the sufferer. In the meantime, Ordonez-Zometa, Hernandez-Garcia, and one other MS-13 member stayed on the crime scene and tried to take away, destroy, and conceal proof of the homicide, together with the blood of Sufferer 1.
The three defendants every face a compulsory sentence of life in jail. U.S. District Choose Paula Xinis has not but scheduled a sentencing date for the defendants.
This case is a part of Venture Secure Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing collectively all ranges of legislation enforcement and the communities they serve to cut back violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everybody. Venture Secure Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Division of Justice’s violent crime discount efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program confirmed to be efficient at decreasing violent crime. Via PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work collectively to determine probably the most urgent violent crime issues in the neighborhood and develop complete options to handle them. As a part of this technique, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on probably the most violent offenders and companions with regionally primarily based prevention and reentry applications for lasting reductions in crime.
This case is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Activity Power (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level felony organizations that threaten the US utilizing a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency strategy that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and native legislation enforcement companies towards felony networks.
Anybody with details about MS-13 is inspired to offer their tricks to legislation enforcement. The FBI and Homeland Safety Investigations each have nationwide tiplines you could name to report what you already know. You’ll be able to attain the FBI at 1-866-STP-MS13 (1-866-787-6713), or you may name HSI at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.
United States Legal professional Erek L. Barron and Assistant Legal professional Common Kenneth A. Well mannered, Jr. recommended the FBI, HSI, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Workplace, the Prince George’s County Police Division, and the Fairfax County Police Division for his or her work within the investigation and thanked the Prince George’s County State’s Legal professional’s Workplace for its help. Mr. Barron and Mr. Well mannered thanked Assistant U.S. Legal professional Michael Morgan, Particular Assistant U.S. Legal professional Jared Engelking, and Trial Legal professional Matthew Hoff of the Justice Division’s Legal Division Organized Crime and Gang Part, who’re prosecuting this case.
For extra info on the Maryland U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace, its priorities, and assets obtainable to assist the group, please go to https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-neighborhoods-psnexile and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
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