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Eleven members or close associates of the MS-13 gang were arrested this week relating to the sexual exploitation and physical abuse of a minor in northern Virginia and Maryland.

“Sex traffickers often prey upon the most vulnerable victims in our society, and when combined with the horrific abuses of a gang like MS-13, the effects can be devastating,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “I have personally handled the prosecution of MS-13 members in northern Virginia for over a decade, including for gang-controlled sex trafficking, and I have led meaningful outreach efforts with the Hispanic community in order to raise public awareness of these serious threats. "

According to court documents, in August 2018, a 13-year-old girl ran away from a youth home in northern Virginia and was later introduced to members of MS-13.

Members of the gang beat the girl 26 times with a baseball bat as part of a gang initiation, according to the criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

Gang members then sex trafficked the girl in Virginia and Maryland using the currency of cash and drugs. While in Virginia, men lined up to have sex with her in a wooded area behind one target’s apartment complex, the criminal complaint said. The men gave her drugs in exchange for sex. She also was harbored in various apartments in northern Virginia where men paid her and her handlers cash for sex.

“MS-13 is known for their violence and intimidation, but the horrific crimes alleged in this case show how their cruelty and depravity know no bounds,” said Robert E. Bornstein, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division. “The FBI and our community will not stand by while children are beaten, plied with drugs, and trafficked for sex. We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to disrupt violent gang activity and bring justice on behalf of the innocent victims on whom they prey.”

According to court documents, girl was later beaten again with a bat 26 times. After the second bat beating, she was taken to Maryland, where she was sold to numerous gang members and other customers in exchange for cash, according to court records.

Law enforcement recovered photographs and videos of the girl while being sexually exploited, along with numerous social media messages regarding the trafficking and sexual exploitation of the victim.

“Today’s arrests are a prime example of the commitment and dedication of local police officers and federal agents to safeguard northern Virginia against crime and violence,” said Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Chief of Fairfax County Police. “The Fairfax County police department will continue to use every resource and leverage the full weight of our agency and our federal partners to prevent violence by interdicting organized crime and holding alleged criminal street gangs accountable.”

Among the arrested are:

Moises Orlando Zelaya-Veliz, 25, Woodbridge: Sex trafficking a minor victim under the age of 14 in or effecting interstate commerce. 

Sioni Alexander Bonilla Gonzalez, 20, Woodbridge: Sex Trafficking of a Minor and Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering Activity through assault with a dangerous weapon.

Carlos Jose Turicios Villatoro, 22, Woodbridge: VICAR Assault.

Jose Eliezar Molina-Veliz, 20, Woodbridge: Sex Trafficking of a Minor.

Santos Ernesto Gutierrez Castro, 21, Woodbridge: Sex Trafficking of a Minor

Luis Alberto Gonzales, 31, Greenbelt: Sex Trafficking of a Minor

Reina Elizabeth Hernandez, 48, Hyattsville: Sex Trafficking of a Minor

Nelson Ezequiel Caballero Portillo, 24, College Park, Maryland: Sex Trafficking of a Minor.

Gilberto Morales, 31, Hyattsville, Maryland: Sex Trafficking of a Minor

Jonathan Rafael Zelaya-Veliz, 24. Hyattsville: Sex Trafficking of a Minor

Orlando Alexis Salmeron Funez, 38, Riverdale, Maryland: Sex Trafficking of a Minor 

If convicted, each defendant charged with sex trafficking of a minor faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison, and each defendant charged with VICAR assault faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if convicted of that offense.

 This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

The case also is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. 

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(19) comments

Catherine Christine

Law Enforcement globally is under attack at the same time they are breaking up a worldwide human sex trafficking ring. Defend the Police. Protect the children. Vote Life. Trump/Pence 2020.

tman

Law enforcement is being called to the mat for systemic abuse and unchecked murder of citizens without consequence. Adults with capacity to reason would understand that we can appreciate the fine investigation and service of the many while fixing the problems that protect the few abusers.

OBLUE

hope nothing like this ever happens to your family then youll see why police are needed

derek005

You are delusional. Everyone wants the policeman around. You support racism and bigotry, but hate minorities. You know Trump is a pathological liar and racist and you are what you vote. You are ignorant to true facts. Trump still hasn't said anything about Russia placing bounties on our military members heads. What about that deplorable human?

Simplecountrygirl

You derek005 should be banned from posting anything on here as you never post anything worth anything. It is always everybody is a racists and a bigot. We all get you hate Trump OK OK so you hate Trump who cares. Everybody is ignorant but you. Express your disdain for Trump in November but you are one vicious hateful person. Readers just go back and look at all the things that have been posted by this person. Nothing ever positive but racist stuff and calling other people names. You need to get a life and stop being a victim.

Iwouldntgiveabean

Remember, this is all happening on Trumps watch. For the last 4 years. And MAGAheads follow him off a cliff as ethics and morals go right out the window.

PWC resident since '69

Ahhhh the wonders of cultural diversity!

realitycheck2

So please explain what your perfect world looks like. All white Christians?

PWC resident since '69

Black, white, brown, Christian, Muslim, Jew, anything...except ANIMALS

Catherine Christine

“According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States -- that's roughly 2,000 per day.” Pray. Pray for the children and those trying to save them.

covid2021

Sad. We must support law enforcement or we will end up with ms-13 policing the neighborhood.

PJC

Woodbridge will be going down the tubes with our new politicians. We will see more MS13 now that our police are not allowed to check their status when stopped. That is why you are seeing more speeding cars. These guys are moving back into the neighborhoods.

OBLUE

ditto we need ice

Sammy2020

Don’t waste tax $’s locking this trash up! Put them on a plane and drop them in the ocean about 500 miles out. I’ll bring a bat.

Citizen52

Any person vaguely familiar with the backgrounds of the criminal population knows that, unlike gang members, very few police abuse or murder citizens. The root of criminal activity starts much earlier. If any politician was interested in helping with positive change, the place to start would be analyzing the data for root causes of criminal behavior and addressing these needs rather than police reform. I don’t know of one person who doesn’t support the blue and, yes, my circle and family are multicultural. Support the police.

Soily

I'm surprised that Terwilliger hasn't been canceled yet. He's the same transphobic prosecutor that tried to get Chelsea Manning to testify in one of his cases, and he has a track record of going after gang bangers. Silly prosecutor doesn't he know laws don't apply to such victimhood groups.

fake_journalist

Fun fact that InsideNova refused to report: Our liberal BOCS stacked the prison board with progressives who voted to stop PWC from working with ICE to deport illegals. PWC is now a sanctuary county and MS-13 is already taking over. Look for the violent crime and murder rate to skyrocket.

Salda0712

These people should be deported no questions asked. Gangs like MS-13 are taking over, and attack every child, woman, and man possible. Two illegal El Salvadorean men tried to kill me on 2 separate occasions unprovoked. One left me for dead. These people a sick, vicious animals that lack all morals and the knowledge of right from wrong. They pose a huge threat to our communities, if nothing continues to be done.

EyesWideOpen

Some of you come across as kind of sick. I never met anyone that doesn't think we need police. Why is demanding that abusive and dishonest officers be removed and prosecuted a problem? Why is it an either/or in your minds? Can't we laud the professional officers and rightly criticize abusive and bigoted ones?

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