2 MS-13 members plead guilty in deadly Northern Virginia attack

Two members of the MS-13 gang from Alexandria, Virginia, pleaded guilty Wednesday in a December 2018 attack in a Northern Virginia park, where the victim was killed in a dispute over a drug territory.

Juan Francisco Rivera-Pineda, 25, and Jefferson Noe Amaya, 24, are part of the Pinos Locos Salvatrucha sect of MS-13, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The clique operates in an area known as Chirilagua, a Latino neighborhood that hugs Arlington and Alexandria.

The two shot and stabbed a 40-year-old victim while he was with two friends in Four Mile Run Park on Dec. 30, 2018. Four Mile Run Park is in the Arlandria neighborhood.

Rivera-Pineda, Amaya and an unidentified third suspect confronted the victim in the park and then shot him in the throat and arm, according to a Department of Justice news release. They also stabbed him in the back during the altercation.

The victim was taken to a hospital, where he had surgery and survived, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

The gang had previously warned the victim’s nephew not to sell drugs in the gang’s territory without paying “rent,” the release said.

Rivera-Pineda and Amaya pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, the release said.

They’re scheduled to be sentenced April 24 and face a mandatory minimum 10-year penalty and a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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