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Transnational Gangs

MS-13 member sentenced to life in prison for 2007 Virginia murder

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A federal judge sentenced 29-year-old Sergio Amador Amador on Friday to life in prison for killing a suspected rival gang member. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigated the case.

"Transnational street gangs pose a public safety threat to communities throughout this area," said James Dinkins, special agent in charge for ICE Office of Investigations in Washington, D.C. "This sentence underscores the multi-jurisdictional commitment to arrest and prosecute violent transnational gang members and lets those gangsters still on the street know that their criminal behavior will not be tolerated."

According to court documents, Amador and Oscar Omar Lobo-Lopez fatally shot Melvin Reyes, a suspected rival gang member, on May 5, 2007, in Springfield, Va. On Feb. 27, 2009, Amador pleaded guilty to murder in aid of racketeering before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.

Lobo-Lopez also faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced on July 24, 2009.

Amador and Lobo-Lopez, both members of the MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha gang, fatally shot Reyes because he was believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street gang. The rules of MS-13 require its members to attack and/or kill rival gang members.

After patrolling for Reyes earlier that day, Amador, Lobo-Lopez and other MS-13 members located him at the Springfield Garden apartments. Amador and Lobo-Lopez, armed with handguns, chased after and fired at Reyes. Wounded from the initial gunshots, Reyes fell in the parking lot. Amador and Lobo-Lopez approached him, and Lobo-Lopez ordered Amador to finish him. Amador then fired shots to Reyes' head. Reyes had seven gunshot wounds at the time of his death. Amador was a member of a New York clique of MS-13, known as Surenos Locos Salvatrucha.

In addition to ICE, this case was investigated by the FBI's Washington Field Office, the Fairfax County Police Department, and the Suffolk County Police Department.