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Wrap-up of news stories taken from the day's local headlines.

In plea deal, Maryland MS-13 gang member gets 30 year sentence for murder of rival

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Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Daniel Flores-Ventura, a/k/a “Necio,” age 26, of Aspen Hill, Maryland, today to 30 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for his participation in the racketeering enterprise known as La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, including a murder.

The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur for the District of Maryland; Special Agent in Charge John Eisert of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Chief Barry M. Barnard of Prince William County, Virginia Police; and Chief Edward Hargis of the Frederick Police Department.
 
            “This sentence reaffirms the message that the violence perpetrated by MS-13 members and associates will not be tolerated,” said United States Attorney Robert K. Hur.  “Our ongoing work with our law enforcement partners to bring MS-13 members to justice demonstrates our unflagging commitment to eliminate MS-13 and its campaign of wanton violence.”
 
“Gang members and their violent crimes have no room here in Maryland,” said HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge John Eisert. “This significant sentencing pulls one more of these dangerous operatives off of the streets and weakens the larger illicit organization, one member at a time. I commend and thank the agents who routinely put themselves in harm’s way and continue our concerted efforts to dismantle these criminal organizations.”
 
According to the plea agreement, MS-13 is a gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador, with members operating in the State of Maryland and throughout the United States.  Branches or “cliques” of MS-13 often work together cooperatively to engage in criminal activity and to assist one another in avoiding detection by law enforcement. MS-13 members and associates are required to commit acts of violence within the gang and against rival gangs.
One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, known as “chavalas,” whenever possible. 
 
As detailed in his plea agreement, Flores-Ventura admitted that since at least 2015, he was a member and associate of the Uniones clique of MS-13 in Maryland, and conspired with other MS-13 members and associates, including Vilas Sail Argueta-Bermudez, Wilians Ernesto Lovos-Ayala, and Michael Campos-Lemus, who were also members of the MS-13 Uniones and Molinos cliques.  Flores-Ventura admitted that beginning in 2015 he and his co-conspirators and others engaged in racketeering activities, including murder and other violent acts and drug distribution.  
 
Beginning in June or July 2015, Flores-Ventura and his co-conspirators planned and conspired to murder Victim 1, whom them believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street Gang.  On July 16, 2015, Flores-Ventura and his co-conspirators lured the victim from Maryland to Virginia on the pretext that the victim was going to participate in a “court,” that is, a disciplinary beating to be administered to another individual.  Flores-Ventura drove the victim, along with other MS-13 members and associates from Silver Spring, Maryland to Woodbridge, Virginia, where they met Argueta-Bermudez, Lovos-Ayala, Campos-Lemus and other members and associates of MS-13 in a wooded area.  Flores-Ventura struck the victim on the head. 
 
Thereafter, Argueta-Bermudez, Lovos-Ayala, Campos-Lemus, and other MS-13 members and associates struck and stabbed that victim multiple times with machetes and knives until the victim was dead.  Flores-Ventura admitted that the victim was murdered to maintain or increase the status of MS-13 in the community and maintain or increase the status of the MS-13 members who participated in the murder.
 
Vilas Sail Argueta-Bermudez, a/k/a “Happy,” a/k/a “Little Happy,” a/k/a “Enchilada,” age 32, of Aspen Hill, Maryland; Wilians Ernesto Lovos-Ayala, a/k/a “Tigre,” age 26, of Woodbridge, Virginia; and Michael Campos-Lemus, a/k/a “Humilde,” age 25, of Aspen Hill, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced later this year.