Trump uses local killing to justify immigration crackdown

  • Published in Local

WASHINGTON — When a Fairfax County jury convicted Wilmer Sanchez-Serrano last November for his role in the stabbing death of 15-year-old Watkins Mill High School student Damaris A. Reyas Rivas one year before, one might have reasonably assumed Rivas’ loved ones could put her tragic death behind them and, with at least one of her killers behind bars, begin to heal.

But in their quest to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, the Trump administration returned Rivas to the headlines Wednesday when Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan invoked her name at a White House law enforcement roundtable on MS-13, the gang to which Sanchez-Serrano – as well as the other 10 suspects arrested in connection with her death – claimed membership.

“In January of last year, Damaris Reyes Rivas, a 15-year-old girl from a suburb of D.C., was stabbed 13 times with knives and a wooden stake by MS-13 members,” Cronan said, while briefing President Donald Trump, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirsten Nielsen, and several members of Congress. “Damaris's killers filmed her murder so that they could show their leaders back in El Salvador, and Damaris's body was then barbarically dumped next to railroad tracks that run under the Beltway,” he said.


MS-13 and a parade

handcuffed manGang violence isn’t new in Montgomery County. It isn’t new anywhere in the country.
It is dangerous and serious, but the federal government has never been particularly good about dealing with the problem and the Trump administration is particularly inept in its ability to deal with one particular gang - MS-13.
The gang has been active for at least a decade and a half in Montgomery County and has been responsible for some horrible crimes, particularly in the immigrant community.
John Cronan, an assistant attorney general said Tuesday the Trump administration will not protect immigrants who come forward to testify against MS-13 members - particularly otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants who fear deportation.


Gang membership and criminal sentencing

gavel2 1 The Trump Administration just recently announced that it was making a priority of prosecuting members of gangs that commit criminal acts, and in particular members of the gang known as MS-13. Maryland’s highest Court just last week addressed whether a sentencing Judge can consider evidence of the defendant’s membership in a gang, even where the underlying crime was not gang related. The case is called Oscar Cruz-Quintanilla v. State of Maryland.
Chief Judge Barbera wrote in the opinion that the defendant was indicted for various crimes related to a home robbery. A jury convicted him of reckless endangerment, wearing/carrying/transporting a handgun, and conspiracy to commit robbery.At sentencing, the prosecution offered for the first time evidence that the defendant had been a member of MS-13. The State called a police Sergeant who testified about and showed pictures of various tattoos on the defendant that showed he belonged to that gang.
The officer said the defendant was a documented gang member since at least 2004. He further testified that members of that gang have to demonstrate loyalty and a willingness to commit violent criminal acts, consistent with its motto translated as “kill, rape, control.”


MS-13 gang member sentenced for crimes

  • Published in Local

Edwin E. Reyes-Martinez, a member of the notorious Central American gang MS-13, was sentenced June 27 to 34 years in prison for second-degree murder and accessory to two other murders.

According to police records, Reyes-Martinez, 19, was the lookout for the murder of Marvin Vargas-Osorio whom MS-13 game members stabbed to death. According Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, Reyes-Martinez was convicted of second-degree murder for the murder of Vargas-Osorio.

“Thirty-four years in prison will give Mr. Reyes-Martinez a long time to think about what he has done. If you play any role in violence like these two murders, you will be apprehended, you will be prosecuted and you will do real jail time,” said State’s Attorney for Montgomery County John McCarthy.


Five arrested in Gaithersburg murder

  • Published in Crime

Policelights 1

Montgomery County police arrested five people in connection with the murder of 22-year-old New Jersey man Jordy Mejia, which police believe is gang-related.

Police charged Neris Moreno, 19 years old of West New York; Nj; Jackelin Leiba-Esperanza, 16 of Brentwood, Maryland; Reynaldo A Granados-Vasquez, 21, of Gaithersburg; Jose Israel Melendez-Rivera, 18 of Montgomery Village; and Katerine Solorzano-Aparicio, 17, of Hyattsville with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.


Suspect in murder had been deported to El Salvador

  • Published in Crime

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) had deported Oscar Ernesto Delgado-Perez, the third suspect in a gang-related murder, twice before to El Salvador. Delgado-Perez then illegally entered the country again, to allegedly kill 20-year-old victim Cristian Antonio Villagran-Morales.

In his bond review on September 8, prosecutor Robert Hill told District Court Judge Zuberi Williams that Delgado-Perez was just about to leave to Texas when police found him. 

“He said to police: ‘If I hadn’t been drunk this morning, you guys would never have caught me,’” said Hill. 


Police searching for two men in gang-related murder

  • Published in Crime

Wanted-VenturaDelgadoPerezPolice are looking for Jose Coreas Ventura (left) and Oscar Ernesto Delgado-Perez (right) in connection with the gang-related murder of Christian Antonio Villagran-Morales, 18, in Gaithersburg.  COURTESY PHOTO 

GAITHERSBURG– Montgomery County Police announced Thursday that they have arrested two suspects and are looking for two more in connection with the gang-related murder of Christian Antonio Villagran-Morales, 18, in Gaithersburg.

Police said they have arrested and charged Juan Gutierrez-Vasquez, 16, and Vanesa Alvarado, 19, both of Gaithersburg with first-degree murder, and are still searching for Jose Coreas Ventura, 20, and Oscar Ernesto Delgado-Perez, 27. Police said Gutierrez-Vasquez has been charged as an adult.

Police said both Alvarado and Gutierrez-Vasquez are affiliated with the notorious street gang MS-13, and are being held on a $1 million bond.

Police said they believe that both Ventura and Delgado-Perez are members of the gang MS-13 and should be considered armed and dangerous.

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