ALEXANDRIA, VA—A former clique leader of MS-13 in Maryland pled guilty today for his role in a gang-run juvenile prostitution ring.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington Field Office; and John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Washington made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Anthony J. Trenga.
Yimmy Anthony Pineda Penado, also known as “Critico” and “Spike,” 22, of Montgomery County, Maryland, pled guilty today to sex trafficking a juvenile. He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison when he is sentenced on December 14, 2012.
“This is the 11th gang member convicted with child sex trafficking since 2011,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Prostituting young girls is a growing threat in our area, and we encourage anyone with information of this activity to call law enforcement. That one call could save a girl from sexual slavery.”
“Today’s plea is the direct result of the joint efforts of law enforcement to combat juvenile prostitution and human trafficking in Northern Virginia,” said Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “Together with our partner agencies, we will continue to pursue anyone who attempts to exploit vulnerable young girls for sex and money.”
“Sex trafficking is a deplorable crime, especially when it involves underage victims who are particularly vulnerable,” said SAC Torres. “HSI is fully committed to working with our law enforcement partners to combat human trafficking.”
According to a statement of facts filed in court, Pineda Penado is a former clique leader of the international street gang Mara Salvatrucha Thirteen, also known as MS-13. He admitted that in the fall of 2009 through the spring of 2010, he assisted his fellow gang members in prostituting at least one teenage girl in hotels, motels, and homes controlled by MS-13 in Northern Virginia and Maryland. Over a two-week period, the teen girl was forced to have sex with more than 20 clients, and gang members provided the juvenile with alcohol and drugs in an effort to make her more compliant and receptive to being prostituted.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and ICE HSI, with assistance from the Fairfax County Police Department and the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force. Assistant United States Attorneys Patricia T. Giles and Zachary Terwilliger are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Founded in 2004, the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaboration of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies—along with nongovernmental organizations—dedicated to combating human trafficking and related crimes.