A teenage MS-13 gang member who stabbed a 15-year-old girl 13 times and sliced off her tattoo pleaded guilty to and was convicted on murder charges on Monday, Jan. 8, according to the Washington Post.
Venus Romero Iraheta, 17 at the time, told Damaris A. Reyes Rivas, 15, that she would see her “in [expletive] hell,” before the brutal murder in January last year. Iraheta will be sentenced on May 25 and faces life in prison.
Authorities have arrested 18 young people in connection with the murder, which brought national attention to the violence wrought by the MS-13 gang on communities across the country, Fox News reported.
President Donald Trump vowed to eradicate MS-13 both on the campaign trail and after the election, and has signaled that significant resources are committed to destroying the gang.
Gang members took Reyes Rivas from Maryland to a Virginia park. There, she was stabbed with a knife and jabbed with a stick by a swarm of MS-13 gang members. The girl’s body was found under a highway overpass in Washington D.C.
“She told the victim she would never forgive her,” FBI Agent Fernando Uribe said in the courtroom, according to Fox News. “She would ‘see her in hell.’ She would never forget her name.”
The entire scene was recorded by another gang member who intended to send it gang leaders in El Salvador. It is unclear if the video was ever sent.
The gang promoted Uribe for her role in the murder.
Several gang members who participated in Riva Reyes’ murder pleaded guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors in October. Cindy Blanco Hernandez, 19, Aldair J. Miranda Carcamo, 18, and Emerson Fugon Lopez, 17, pleaded guilty to charges of abduction and gang participation, among others. They will be sentenced on May 5.
What is MS-13?
Uribe and the other gang members blamed Reyes Rivas for luring the leader of their clique, Christian Sosa Rivas, to his killing one week prior. The group wanted to exact revenge.
The videos recorded during the incident were played in court on Monday to show the judge the depravity of the gang.
“There’s a level of cruelty in this case I’ve not seen in 35 years in the business,” Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh told Washington Post after the hearing.
The videos show that Reyes Rivas was terrorized before she died. Once in the park, Uribe hit the victim in the face, cutting her. The gang then made her take off her shoes and shirt. One of the videos shows her shaking violently in 21-degree weather. But that was only the beginning.
The group then took Reyes Rivas into a car where they played MS-13 music where Uribe told the victim she would be killed. At another location near the train tracks, Uribe was forced to crawl through a 3-foot tunnel covered with MS-13 graffiti.
After every one of the participants punched or kicked the victim, Uribe climbed on top of her. The victim asked for forgiveness, but none would come.
By the end of the assault, Reyes Rivas was stabbed 23 times. A gang member shoved a stick at her neck over and over as she bled. That gang member, Wilmer A. Sanchez-Serrano, was convicted of murder in November.
Convictions have since been handed out to 7 of the 10 gang members charged in that case.