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Gang Suspects Charged

MS-13 gang members arrested in Los Angeles for May shooting of Herndon teenager.

Alirio Reyes, also known as "Seco," and Osmin Heriberto Alfaro-Fuentes, known as "Buco," were scheduled to be arraigned at the U.S. District Court in Alexandria on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

A federal grand jury in Alexandria returned an eight-count indictment on Dec. 15 charging Reyes and Alfaro-Fuentes, both 25, with the murder of Jose Sandoval, a 17-year-old Herndon High School student, and the shooting of a 16-year-old girl who was with him.

The crimes occurred on the 1000 block of Park Avenue on May 16, 2004, and the victims did not know Reyes or Alfaro-Fuentes, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty.

Reyes and Alfaro-Fuentes are gang members with MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha, a violent street gang with membership throughout the United States and Central America with specific ties to El Salvador, according to court documents.

"The indictment specifically charges Reyes and Alfaro-Fuentes with committing these crimes to maintain or increase their respective positions within MS-13," as well as to promote the gang and its reputation for violence, according to court documents, which stated that gang investigators in Fairfax County estimate that there are approximately 1,500 MS-13 gang members in the county.

Reyes and Alfaro-Fuentes, both El Salvador natives, were charged with murder in aid of racketeering, committing attempted murder and aggravated assault in aid of racketeering, as well as using a firearm in connection with these crimes.

Official charges will be made at their arraignment Wednesday by Judge T.S. Ellis, III, at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

HERNDON POLICE responded to a call on Sunday, May 16, 2004 at 9:41 p.m. that gunshots had been fired at the 1000 block of Park Avenue.

At the scene, between Ferndale Avenue and Cavalier Drive, officers found that Sandoval and the girl had been shot.

Sandoval was later pronounced dead at Reston Hospital while the girl was in stable condition.

Four days later, Herndon Police Chief Toussaint Summers, Jr. — head of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force — called a community meeting to answer questions, calm nerves and gather information regarding the shooting.

"The tips from the county and folks in Herndon helped out with finding [Reyes and Alfaro-Fuentes]," said Herndon Police Lt. Don Amos.

BASED ON a June 18 tip received by the regional gang task force and John Clark, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia, investigators learned Reyes and Alfaro-Fuentes were hiding in a hotel in Los Angeles, prompting the need for federal law enforcement, Amos said.

After their arrest, Herndon police officials traveled to Los Angeles to interview Reyes and Alfaro-Fuentes, according to court documents.

Reyes, who denied having any involvement with the shooting, told officials that they fled Virginia because of newspaper articles claiming that MS-13 was responsible for the shooting and they feared they and other MS-13 gang members would be arrested.

"Alfaro-Fuentes was interviewed by Herndon police officials, and he admitted being present with Reyes at the May 16 shooting in Herndon," according to court documents. "Alfaro-Fuentes denied being the shooter and stated that the only other people present, besides himself and Reyes, were the two shooting victims."

"BECAUSE THEY WERE not charged under the state statutes", Amos said the federal attorney's office made the announcement of their arrest, indictment and arraignment date, as opposed to state, county or local police.

Although federal officials took over the case, Amos said Herndon still has a role in the criminal case.

"Our detective will still be involved all the way through the court process," he said. "Work will be done until this is closed, but certainly it won't be as tasking as it has been."

Amos hopes the eight-count indictment charge sends a message to other gang members that criminal acts will not go unpunished.

"I know that we — not only the Herndon Police Department but the gang task force and federal officials — have worked very hard on this," he said. "This will send a message out to other gang members that we are going to aggressively pursue this type of behavior."