Reston, VA

An MS-13 gang member was sentenced to 28 months in prison for serving as a getaway driver in an armed robbery on the 1100 block of Elden Street.

William Pena, 27, who arrived in the United States illegally, drove several gang members from Maryland to Herndon to rob a store in the Town of Herndon of roughly $19,500, according to court documents. The incident happened on Aug. 18, 2017.

The men entered a neighboring restaurant and kept patrons and staff on the floor for several minutes before escaping from a. Rear exit.

Court documents state that Pene drove three of the armed robbers away from the scene and back to Maryland.

Here’s more on the multi-jurisdictional effort that led to the conclusion of the case:

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation Blue Heat. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

This case is also part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said the case was a “prime example of our need for strong borders.”

After previously being deported, this admitted MS-13 gang member again illegally crossed our southern border to get back into the United States. Then, as we’ve seen so often, once back here in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area he continued his criminal activity and participation in MS-13.”

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