GREENBELT, MD. (WJZ) — A judge sentenced an MS-13 associate to 30 years in federal prison after he admitted to kidnapping and murdering a person he believed to be a rival gang member.
Neris Moreno-Martinez, 22, of West New York, New Jersey, was a pro in the L.A. clique of MS-13, court documents show.
His co-defendants were also in the gang; Jose Israel Melendez-Rivera, aka “Liar, was an observation and Reynaldo Granados-Vasquez, aka “Fuego” was a paro.
In the summer of 2016, Moreno-Martinez told Melendez-Rivera, about the victim, Jordy, Mejia, whom Moreno-Martinez said was a member of the rival 18th Street gang– though there was no evidence to suggest that was true.
Moreno-Martinez created a social media account in the name “Shaila Smith” before October 1, 2016.
Between October 2 and October 15, 2016, Moreno-Martinez posed as Shaila Smith and made Mejia believe that Smith was romantically interested in him.
Melendez-Rivera admitted that he and Granados-Vasquez were aware of the ruse and the goal was to trick Mejia into coming to Maryland– where the three planned to murder him.
According to court documents, Moreno-Martinez traveled to Maryland to meet Melendez-Rivera on October 15, 2016.
Later that day, Mejia traveled to Melendez-Rivera’s address in Gaithersburg, where he was told by Moreno-Martinez that someone would pick him up.
While Mejia waited to be picked up, Melendez-Rivera drove the other two co-defendants to a home near a wooded area where the two were to wait for Mejia, then drove back to his apartment, picked up Mejia and took him to the wooded area.
After he was lured to the wooded area, the co-defendants murdered Mejia.
Melendez-Rivera, 21, of Gaithersburg, and Granados-Vasquez, 23, also of Gaithersburg, have also pleaded guilty to the kidnapping conspiracy.
Melendez-Rivera was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison earlier this month.
Granados-Vasquez will be sentenced on July 9.