PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — A Virginia MS-13 member has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for his role in the brutal 2019 murder of a teen gang member who was stabbed more than 100 times and set on fire.
Kevin Alexis Rodriguez-Flores, 21, of Annandale, pleaded guilty to multiple conspiracy charges related to the March 8, 2019, murder of Jacson Piñeda Chicas, 16, of Falls Church.
Chicas was not named in the federal court documents, but law enforcement officials have previously identified him as the victim of the crime.
“Prior to his life being taken, (Chicas) was stabbed and cut some 144 times by persons, including the defendant, that he believed were his friends,” prosecutors said in a sentencing memo.
Chicas’ partially burned body was found the next morning in a wooded area of Fredericksburg, authorities said.
The teen, who was a student at Falls Church High School, was described by the principal as an “engaging young man, well-liked by all who knew him,” NBC Washington reported in 2019.
Rodriguez-Flores came to the U.S. from El Salvador in 2016, WUSA in Washington reported. He lived with his mother in New Jersey before relocating to Virginia.
The then-18-year-old had been in Virginia for about a month before Chicas’ murder, the news station said.
Defense attorney Alfred Guillaume III said Rodriguez-Flores is remorseful for what he’s done, according to The Washington Post.
“Our hearts go out to the family of the victim,” Guillaume said.
Chicas was also an El Salvadoran immigrant. His mother told NBC Washington following his murder that the family had fled their native country because her son had been forced to join Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13.
MS-13 is an international criminal enterprise that originated in Los Angeles in the 1980s and is composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador.
Before his death, Chicas told his mother that MS-13 members who suspected him of police cooperation had threatened to kill his family. In addition to protecting the “name, reputation and status of the gang from rival gang members and other persons” by any means necessary, MS-13 members are also expected to never cooperate with law enforcement, authorities said.
“Violation of this rule results in an order of death for the offender,” according to prosecutors.
Read details of Kevin Rodriguez-Flores’ plea agreement below.
Chicas’ mother told the NBC affiliate that her son, who knew he was in danger, had been staying elsewhere to protect his parents and siblings as he tried to extricate himself from the gang’s grasp.
Despite his efforts, he seemingly could not escape.
“He had to take knives to defend himself, and screwdrivers,” said his mother, whose name was withheld for her protection. “He had razors and he told me, ‘Mom, I’m going to defend myself with them, but it’s no going to be enough.’”
A total of six suspects were charged in Prince George’s County, Maryland, but only four of the men accused of killing Chicas were indicted on federal charges last summer. The other defendants in the federal case are Jose Domingo Ordonez-Zometa, 32, of Hyattsville; Jose Rafael Ortega-Ayala, 29, of Washington; and 27-year-old Jose Henry Hernandez-Garcia, who had no fixed address.
Each of the four men were indicted on charges of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise and conspiracy to destroy and conceal evidence.
Rodriguez-Flores is the only one of the four whose federal case has come to a conclusion. The status of the state murder case was not immediately available.
According to prosecutors, Chicas was tortured and killed when Ordonez-Zometa, the leader of the gang’s Los Ghettos Criminales Salvatrucha clique, became suspicious that Chicas was cooperating with police.
Their suspicions were apparently mistaken.
Rodriguez-Flores’s plea agreement breaks down the facts that prosecutors planned to prove had he gone to trial.
In the first week of March 2019, authorities allege Ordonez-Zometa ordered several LGCS clique members to meet at his home in Hyattsville to discuss various clique matters — including recent contact that he believed Chicas had with police.
Ordonez-Zometa called a second meeting at his home on March 8, at which time the gang leader interrogated Chicas, who is identified in court records as “Victim 1.” The teen was soon taken into the basement of the home.
As the questioning continued, a torturous assault began. Some of the MS-13 members, including Rodriguez-Flores, began cutting Chicas with knives.
The cutting escalated to stabbing, and Rodriguez-Flores and the other suspects violently assaulted Chicas until he was dead, authorities allege.
“According to the autopsy report, Victim 1 sustained a total of 144 wounds: 68 stab wounds and 76 cutting wounds,” according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland. “The autopsy also reported that the victim’s left internal jugular vein was cut and (the) left carotid artery, an artery within the throat cavity, was transected.”
Once Chicas was dead, Ordonez-Zometa ordered Rodriguez-Flores and their two co-defendants to dispose of the teen in a secluded part of Virginia’s Stafford County. The men subsequently burned Chicas’ body.
“Rodriguez-Flores and other members remained at the clique leader’s residence and attempted to destroy evidence of Victim 1′s murder,” prosecutors said. “This included disposing of blood in the basement and removing bloodstained carpet.
“After the MS-13 members returned from disposing of Victim 1′s body, (the) co-conspirators cleaned the car, particularly the trunk area, in an attempt to remove evidence of the murder of Victim 1.”
A Stafford County deputy found Chicas’ remains around 5 a.m. the next day. In an effort to identify the teen, authorities released a photo of a bloodied tattoo on his forearm.
Chicas’ mother told NBC Washington she knew her son was dead when she saw that tattoo online.
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