Three MS-13 gang members convicted of murder in pursuit of a racketeering conspiracy in Maryland

Three MS-13 gang members convicted of murder in pursuit of a racketeering conspiracy in Maryland

The leader of a Maryland branch of the international MS-13 gang was convicted Friday by a federal jury on racketeering and murder charges along with two other members, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced.

Los Ghettos Criminales Salvatruchas leader Jose Domingo Ordonez-Zometa, 33, of Landover, Maryland, along with Jose Rafael Ortega-Ayala, 30, of Greenbelt, Maryland and Jose Henry Hernandez-Garcia, 29 of Annandale, Virginia were convicted of “racketeering and murder in aid of racketeering conspiracies, for committing murder in aid of racketeering, and for conspiracy to destroy and conceal evidence,” of their membership in MS-13, according to the USAO-MD release.

Between August 2018 and April 2019, the defendants committed acts of violence and other crimes in order to further the designs of MS-13. As part of the gang, members are committed to a strict code of silence and non-cooperation with authorities.

Ordonez-Zometa convened a meeting of LGCS members at his home on March 8, 2019 to discuss gang business, including contact that the victim, identified as Jacson Pineda-Chicas, 16, of Falls Church, Virginia by NBC News 4, had recently had with police.

During the meeting, Ordonez-Zometa and other members grilled Pineda-Chicas, suspecting that he had snitched on them as part of cooperating with authorities. 

The gang members assaulted Pineda-Chicas and another member who tried to defend him before Ordonez-Zometa ordered Pineda-Chicas’s death. Ortega-Ayala, Hernandez-Garcia, and other members then stabbed Pineda-Chicas over 100 times, killing him.

Afterwards, Ordonez-Zometa ordered Ortega-Ayala, and others to conceal the evidence of the crime. Pineda-Chicas’s corpse was taken to a secluded location in Stafford County, Virginia and set on fire, along with other evidence.

Meanwhile, Ordonez-Zometa and Hernandez-Garcia, along with a third member, stayed behind to clean up the crime scene in Ordonez-Zometa’s basement.

The three defendants now face a mandatory life sentence.

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