ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Two MS-13 members were sentenced today to over a combined 28 years in prison for their roles in a December 2018 shooting and stabbing that occurred in Four Mile Run Park.
“Yes, Northern Virginia has a gang problem,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “I have personally handled the prosecution of MS-13 members in Alexandria for over a decade. By burying their heads in the sand and lacking courage to address a problem because they mistakenly deem it to be politically incorrect, various community leaders in Northern Virginia simply refuse to acknowledge the gang problem to the detriment of the same Hispanic community they claim to be defending. No one suffers more at the hands of MS-13 than other individuals of Central American birth or ancestry. MS-13 gang members extort minority owned businesses in their own communities, sexually traffic first generation American juveniles, and brutally assault and even murder Hispanic boys and girls who they believe have disrespected the gang. This case is proof positive of the need for community leaders in Northern Virginia to acknowledge this reality and work to be part of the solution. We cannot prosecute MS-13 out of existence. The community must play a significant role to protect our youth from joining the gang in the first place. I believe that together we can eliminate the gang problem in Northern Virginia.”
According to court documents, Juan Francisco Rivera-Pineda, 25, and Jefferson Noe Amaya, 25, both of Alexandria, are members of the Pinos Locos Salvatrucha (PLS) clique of MS-13, which operates in Chirilagua, an area in Alexandria near the border of Arlington.
On Dec. 30, 2018, Rivera-Pineda and Amaya shot and stabbed a 40-year-old victim while the victim and his two friends were in Four Mile Run Park. The victim’s nephew had been warned by PLS not to sell drugs in PLS territory without paying rent. On the night of the shooting, Rivera-Pineda, Amaya, and a third unidentified suspect confronted the victim in the park, shooting him in the throat and arm, and stabbing him in the torso. The victim was transported to the hospital where he underwent surgery and survived.
“Today’s sentencings send a clear message that the FBI and the Safe Streets Task Force remain aggressive in investigating and dismantling gang activity that brings violence and fear into our communities,” said James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office. “The FBI will continue steadfastly in its goal to take these violent offenders off the street and ultimately bring justice to the victims of these brutal acts.”
Rivera-Pineda and Amaya each pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity, and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. Rivera-Pineda was sentenced to 161 months in prison, and Amaya was sentenced to 177 months. Each sentence included a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years.