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Crime

Annapolis MS-13 member sentenced to life without parole for Anne Arundel killings

An MS-13 member was sentenced to life without parole for his role in three slayings with ties to Anne Arundel County after facing two federal jury trials.

Annapolis resident Juan Carlos Sandoval-Rodriguez, 24, directly participated in three gang-related killings in 2016 and 2017, jurors decided during the trials, which were part of a racketeering case in the U.S. District Court for Maryland against dozens of defendants associated with Mara Salvatrucha, the gang known as MS-13.

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“Put simply, defendant Sandoval-Rodriguez slaughtered three people,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum for the man, describing the conduct in the cases as “heinous and depraved.”

Sandoval-Rodriguez participated in the March 11, 2016, murder of Jose Hernandez-Portillo in Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis, where the gang lured the victim before stabbing him with a knife repeatedly, prosecutors said. Hernandez-Portillo’s body wasn’t recovered until August 2017, when it was found in a “shallow grave.”

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After Sandoval-Rodriguez was arrested on Feb. 27, 2018, authorities found “writings about the murder as well as additional MS-13 paraphernalia” in his belongings, according to prosecutors.

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Just over a year after the murder at Quiet Waters, Sandoval-Rodriguez participated in the March 31, 2017, murder of Irvin Orellana, a 17-year-old Annapolis boy who the MS-13 clique believed was “giving information to rival gang members through a girl,” prosecutors said. Sandoval-Rodriguez and other members of the gang lured Orellana from Annapolis to Wheaton Regional Park, then proceeded to stab and dismember him.

a, they stayed in a hotel in Langley Park to celebrate the killing, prosecutors said.

And on June 24, 2017, the gang lured Jenni Lopez-Rivera, 21, into a car where members trapped her and held her at knifepoint, taking her to the Crownsville site of her eventual murder.

“The victim screamed as she was being driven around the Annapolis area before eventually arriving in the wooded area in Crownsville,” prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum.

Sandoval-Rodriguez was waiting in Crownsville, and had dug a grave before Lopez-Rivera’s arrival, prosecutors said. He and others proceeded to stab and dismember her before burying her.

Fellow gang members Jose Joya Parada, Oscar Armando Sorto Romero and Milton Portillo-Rodriguez were also found guilty of murder in aid of racketeering for participating in some or all of these murders, as well as other slayings. Joya Parada, who was 16 at the time of Orellana’s killing, was sentenced to 50 years of federal prison, while Portillo-Rodriguez and Sorto Romero were sentenced to life.

Maryland Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar issued the sentences throughout April and May this year.


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