A 20-year-old woman in the United States illegally from El Salvador, pleaded guilty to a long list of crimes she committed with the MS-13 gang in Maryland.
She was sentenced to 95 years in prison.
Josselin Ramirez started her criminal career in El Salvador, where she was involved in ambushing and killing a police officer and a rival gang member. She was only 13 when she helped lure the policeman into range of her MS-13 compatriot’s guns.
She came to the United States in 2013 and settled in Temple Hills, Maryland, where she met up with MS-13 gangsters and resumed her violent activities.
Among other crimes, she had been involved in half-a-dozen robberies in the area before being arrested in 2017.
Ramirez pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and three counts of participating in a gang-related crime.
Her plea came unexpectedly in the middle of her trial. There were photographs of her holding weapons used in the crimes.
Her role in the crimes was to case the businesses to be robbed—to enter and survey the layout, security, and camera locations, so the other gang members could plan the crime. Then several armed gang members would enter the businesses and essentially take over, holding staff and customers at gunpoint while they seized cash and valuables.
Afterward, Ramirez would wipe down the weapons and get rid of any evidence.
At her sentencing, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge John M. Maloney noted that Ramirez could have left the gang life behind her when she came to the United States. Instead, she voluntarily rejoined a local branch of MS-13 and “embraced the lifestyle again.”
At the sentencing Judge Maloney told Ramirez, “You are a scary human being,” the Washington Post reported. “You need to be housed away so you can’t harm others.”
El Salvador’s Worst Export
MS-13, also called Mara Salvatrucha, started in Los Angeles in the 1980s by immigrants from El Salvador, a country ravaged by civil war and home to numerous violent drug gangs. As Salvadorans spread across the Americas, they started branches wherever they settled.
According to the FBI’s 2009 National Gang Threat Assessment, “The gang is estimated to have 30,000 to 50,000 members and associate members worldwide, 8,000 to 10,000 of whom reside in the United States.”
MS-13 is especially active in five states: California, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and Massachusetts—the five states where the Center for Immigration Studies said the highest number of unaccompanied alien children are settled, the Daily Caller reported.
The gang has brought to the normally mild northeastern states, the kind of horrific crime seen between rival drug cartels in Mexico.
MS-13 gangsters are accused of stabbing a man over 100 times, beheading him, and cutting his heart out, in Wheaton, Maryland in November 2017. In June 2018, the gang was linked to the kidnapping and murder of two teens in Fairfax, Virginia.
Two dozen MS-13 members from the Long Island, New York branch were indicted for 15 murders committed between 2013 and 2017.
Sixty-three percent of all MS-13 arrests are made in these five states, but MS-13 is active in other states as well.
Four MS-13 members, also illegal immigrants, were charged in Las Vegas in March, 2018, after a yearlong murder spree.