A Honduran man pleaded guilty today to use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence resulting in the death of another for his participation in a murder committed as part of a gang initiation for two recruits of La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Lee of the FBI’s Richmond, Virginia, Division, Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Lechleitner of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., and Police Chief Alfred Durham of the Richmond Police Department made the announcement.
Yerwin Ivan Hernandez-Ordonez, aka Probador, 31, a Honduran national, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate David J. Novak in the Eastern District of Virginia to use of a firearm during a crime of violence causing the death of another. In October 2016, Hernandez-Ordonez was arrested in Panama and extradited to the United States. Sentencing is set for Aug. 3, 2017, before the Honorable Robert E. Payne.
MS-13 is a national and international gang that was formed and is headquartered in El Salvador. Branches or “cliques” of MS-13, one of the largest street gangs in the United States, operate throughout Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., among other cities. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence within the gang and against rival gangs. One of the principal rules of MS-13 is that its members must attack and kill rivals, known as “chavalas,” whenever possible.
In his plea agreement, Hernandez-Ordonez admitted that he aided two MS-13 recruits to murder a victim so the recruits could gain entrance into MS-13. Specifically, Hernandez-Ordonez admitted that on July 23, 2011, he and members of the Richmond Sailors clique of MS-13 decided the killing of the rival gang member would be the initiation rite for two MS-13 recruits. The leader chose Hernandez-Ordonez and a co-conspirator gang member to ensure the recruits carried out the murder. Later that night and into the early morning hours of July 24, 2011, the recruits drove the victim to an area near the 8200 block of Riverside Drive in Richmond. One of the recruits then attempted to shoot the victim, but the gun misfired. An MS-13 member then shot the victim with another gun, but did not kill him. When the victim attempted to flee, Hernandez-Ordonez chased the victim down and brought him back to the group, and thereafter, the two recruits shot the victim in the head and killed him. Later that same day, the two recruits were initiated into the gang.
Jose Armando Bran, aka Pantro, the leader of MS-13’s Sailors Locos Salvatrucha clique in Richmond, was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, murder, maiming and use of a firearm during a crime of violence in death on May 20, 2013. Bran was sentenced in Aug. 15, 2013, to serve two consecutive life sentences plus 120 months for his role in the same murder and a separate maiming that he ordered while he was an MS-13 gang leader in Richmond.
FBI Richmond, HSI Richmond and the Richmond Police Department investigated the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance with the extradition of Hernandez-Ordonez. Trial Attorneys Matthew K. Hoff and Andrew Creighton of the Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Miller of the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case.