ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A former clique leader of MS-13 in Maryland pleaded guilty Monday for his role in a gang-run juvenile prostitution ring.
The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the FBI, with assistance from the Fairfax County Police Department and the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force.
Yimmy Anthony Pineda Penado, also known as "Critico" and "Spike," 22, of Montgomery County, Md., pleaded guilty 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 Dec. 14.
"Sex trafficking is a deplorable crime, especially when it involves underage victims who are particularly vulnerable," said HSI Washington, D.C. Special Agent in Charge John P. Torres. "HSI is fully committed to working with our law enforcement partners to combat human trafficking."
According to court records, 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.
"This is the eleventh gang member convicted with child sex trafficking since 2011," said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. 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 of the FBI's Washington Field Office James W. McJunkin. "Together with our partner agencies, we will continue to pursue anyone who attempts to exploit vulnerable young girls for sex and money."
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.