U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow today sentenced Victor Ramirez,
a/k/a "Mousey," age 30, a native of El Salvador who resided in
Hyattsville, Md., to 60 years in prison, followed by five years of
Ramirez was convicted in November 2008, after a four-week jury trial,
of conspiracy to conduct and participate in racketeering enterprise
activities of the gang MS-13, including three murders and an attempted
murder; armed robbery of a business; and using and carrying a gun in
furtherance of a crime of violence.
"Victor Ramirez’ mission was to boost the level of MS-13's criminal
activities on the streets of Maryland," said Assistant Attorney General
of the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer. "Today’s sentence is a
warning to gang members with similar aspirations that we won’t tolerate
this sort of criminal behavior in our neighborhoods."
"The evidence proved that MS-13 sent Victor Ramirez to Maryland from El
Salvador as part of a plan to strengthen the MS-13 gang and expand the
gang’s criminal activity," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to testimony presented during trial, Ramirez was a leader in
the Teclas Locos Salvatruchos (TLS) clique of MS-13 in El Salvador, and
then in Maryland. During the trial, the jury viewed a video taken in
the Quezaltepeque prison in El Salvador that showed Ramirez flashing
MS-13 gang signs and displaying a "Mara Salvatrucha" tattoo across his
abdomen. Ramirez admitted to fellow gang members in Maryland that he
had been a "first word" (or clique leader) within the clique in El
Salvador. After arriving in Maryland, Ramirez represented the TLS
clique at MS-13 meetings in Maryland, the District of Columbia and
Witnesses testified that Ramirez came to the U.S. from El Salvador
through Mexico, and that he had arrived in Maryland with a fellow gang
member. Both Ramirez and an MS-13 leader from El Salvador told
witnesses that Ramirez had been sent to Maryland to strengthen MS-13 in
Maryland, ensure that MS-13 rules were being strictly followed as
established by the gang leaders in El Salvador, and in particular, to
make the TLS clique in Maryland more violent. In addition, once he
arrived in Maryland, Ramirez was instrumental in implementing "The
Program," which was a scheme to rob and extort prostitution houses and
other illegal businesses in order to collect funds for MS-13.
Witnesses testified that on Oct. 9, 2005, Ramirez and other MS-13
members, including co-defendant Eris Marchante-Rivas, attended a
meeting of the TLS clique in Prince George’s County. During that
meeting, one of the international leaders of the TLS clique spoke to
the gang members by cellular telephone from a jail in El Salvador.
After the meeting, Ramirez and fellow gang members drove to meet a
number of gang members from other MS-13 cliques and discussed their
plans to shoot rival gang members that day. Ramirez, Marchante-Rivas
and other gang members went to the 5600 block of Quintana Street in
Riverdale, Md., to kill rival gang members. Once they arrived, Ramirez
and other gang members left their vehicles and approached Jose Cerda,
Edward Trujillo and another person, all of whom were standing in front
of a house on Quintana Street. Cerda and Trujillo were shot and killed
by MS-13 gang members and the third individual was wounded by a gunshot.
Witnesses also testified about the murder of Alejandro Rubi-Martinez in
Langley Park, Md., on Oct. 23, 2005. Ramirez was present in Langley
Park during a discussion about an individual that they suspected of
being a rival gang member. Ramirez asked a gang member to drive Ramirez
to his apartment, where Ramirez retrieved a handgun. Ramirez later
handed this gun to an MS-13 member who shot Rubi-Martinez in Langley
Park that day. A witness testified that he drove with Ramirez away from
this meeting of MS-13 members just before the shooting.
Witnesses also testified about Ramirez’s leadership role in
implementing the "Program" of robbing and extorting brothels in
Maryland. A witness testified that he accompanied Ramirez on a number
of occasions when they robbed brothels and raped the prostitutes.
Ramirez decided to rob the brothel on Blueridge Avenue in Wheaton, Md.,
and brought a .38 caliber revolver to use during the robbery. On Nov.
co-defendant Juan Jiminez-Hernandez, and three other MS-13 gang members
from the TLS clique drove to the brothel. Once inside the apartment,
the MS-13 members brandished the gun that Ramirez had brought, tied up
and robbed the doorman and two other men who arrived later, and raped
the prostitute at gunpoint.
Detectives and Montgomery County police officers testified that they
arrived at the apartment that day after tracking a carjacking suspect
to that location. A female plainclothes detective knocked on the door
to the apartment, posing as a neighbor. The MS-13 members inside opened
the door and attempted to grab the detective, not knowing that a number
of officers and detectives were lined up in the hallway outside the
door waiting to enter the apartment. Witnesses testified that Ramirez
was one of the three men at the doorway who attempted to grab the
female detective. Law enforcement witnesses further testified that they
recovered a handgun on the floor of the apartment and some of the
prostitute’s jewelry in Ramirez’s pockets. A fifth gang member, who had
remained in the car, attempted to warn the other gang members about the
arrival of the police, but was unsuccessful. He fled in the car, but
was later apprehended by police.
Eris Marchante-Rivas, also known as "Strayboy," age 24, of Hyattsville,
Md., was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Jan. 12, 2009, and Juan
Jiminez-Hernandez, also known as "Sniroon," age 23, of Beltsville, Md.,
was sentenced on Nov. 10, 2008, to 12 ½ years in prison, followed by
five years of supervised release.