Eastern District of Virginia | Member of MS-13 Pleads Guilty in Connection with 2016 Fairfax Murder

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An El Salvadoran member of the transnational street gang La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, pleaded guilty yesterday in connection with the kidnapping and murder of an adolescent boy in 2016.

According to court documents, Edwin Orellana Caballero, who was 16 years old and living in Alexandria at the time, was one of several members and associates of the Park View Locos Salvatrucha clique of MS-13 who kidnapped and killed 14-year-old victim, S.A.A.T. On the night of September 26, 2016, the gang lured S.A.A.T. to Holmes Run Stream Valley Park in Fairfax County and murdered him in a wooded area there with knives, machetes, and a pickaxe. Specifically, Orellana Caballero struck S.A.A.T. multiple times with the pickaxe. Once S.A.A.T. was dead, the gang buried him in a shallow grave.

Orellana Caballero, who was transferred for prosecution as an adult under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, pleaded guilty to one count of maiming in aid of racketeering activity and faces a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of 25 years in prison when sentenced on February 28, 2024. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

To date, a total of 17 defendants have been charged in this case. Of those, five defendants went to trial and were convicted of all charges. Ten defendants pleaded guilty prior to trial.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division; and Kevin Davis, Fairfax County Chief of Police, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Rossie D. Alston, Jr. accepted the plea.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Washington Field Office, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Alexandria Police Department, the Prince William County Police Department, the Montgomery County (MD) Police Department, and the Marin County (CA) Sheriff’s Office provided significant assistance on the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander E. Blanchard and Cristina C. Stam are prosecuting the case.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

The Justice Department recently announced several new commitments as part of its Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime. Instituted by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in May 2021, the strategy focuses on harnessing federal resources, intelligence, and expertise as a force-multiplier with state, local, and Tribal law enforcement. Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta highlighted the more than $334 million in critical grant funding to law enforcement agencies and stakeholders awarded today by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).The COPS grants announced include funding to help law enforcement agencies hire over 1,730 new law enforcement officers across the country while also providing critical funding to support school safety and continue to advance community policing nationwide.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:22-cr-153.

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