Federal prosecutors unsealed indictments Wednesday charging three MS-13 gang members for their roles in multiple violent crimes including a 2017 murder in Charlottesville and two 2019 attempted murders in Prince William County.
According to allegations in the indictment, Andy Tovar, 31, of White Post, was the "First Word" or leader of the Guanacos Lil Cycos Salvatruchas (GLCS) clique of MS-13. Roberto Cruz Moreno, 20, of Woodbridge, was a "pasa de homeboy," or soldier in the GLCS clique, and Kevin Perez Sandoval, 22, of Warrenton, was an "observacion," or associate, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release.
In July 2017, Tovar allegedly authorized members and associates of the GLCS clique to travel from Prince William County to Charlottesville to murder an individual the clique believed was a rival gang member, court records show.
At Tovar’s direction, on July 3, 2017, four members of the GLCS clique stabbed the victim over 140 times using knives and a machete before they dumped his body in a river, burned his car, and fled back to Prince William County, the release said.
In March 2019, Cruz Moreno allegedly picked up three other members or associates of the gang and drove them to an isolated wooded area in Bristow, where one associate shot another multiple times and another stabbed him "because members and associates of GLCS believed [the victim] was disrespecting MS-13," the release said.
Following the attempted murder, Cruz Moreno fled the scene with the three other GLCS participants and drove them to his residence. The victim survived.
In April 2019, local law enforcement officers in Fairfax County allegedly found Cruz Moreno, an illegal alien, in possession of the same firearm used to shoot the victim from the month before, and several grams of packaged cocaine in his vehicle with three other associates of GLCS, the release said.
Cruz Moreno obtained the cocaine from Tovar and had been selling the cocaine on behalf of the clique earlier that day, the indictment alleges.
In August 2019, members and associates of GLCS identified a third target as a rival gang member living in GLCS controlled territory and Tovar allegedly authorized members and associates to kill him.
On Aug. 12, 2019, Perez Sandoval and two other gang members saw the target at a laundromat in Manassas and sought Tovar’s permission to kill him there, according to the indictment.
After Tovar allegedly granted permission to conduct the killing at the laundromat, Perez Sandoval drove the two members or associates of MS-13 to retrieve a firearm, and back to the laundromat area where the was shot before Perez Sandoval drove them from the scene of the shooting. The victim survived.
Indictments against the three suspects include conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of a racketeering activity, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, attempted murder in aid of a racketeering activity, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm by an illegal alien.
Tovar, Cruz Moreno, and Perez Sandoval each face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.