UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJZ) — A 17-year old MS-13 gang member was sentenced to life in prison on Monday with all but 50 years suspended for his involvement in the murder of 14-year-old Ariana Funes-Diaz.

Josue Fuentes-Ponce had been charged with first-degree murder, involvement in committing murder while part of a criminal gang and conspiracy to commit murder in Funes-Diaz’s death in April.

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He entered a guilty plea to those counts on October 30, 2019.


Fuentes-Ponce and three others lured Funes-Diaz to a tunnel in Riverdale on April 18 where they then beat her to death with a machete and a baseball bat, police said.

In May, officials said the group believed Funes-Diaz was going to tell the police about a crime they had all committed the day before in Washington, D.C.

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Josue Fuentes-Ponce. Credit: Prince George’s County Police

Co-defendant Joel Escobar, 18, entered a guilty plea on November 25, 2019, and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 26, 2020.

Edwin Rios, 19, is scheduled for trial beginning April 13, 2020.

The charges against the remaining co-defendant, who is 14, were handled in juvenile court.

Fuentes-Ponce will face five years of supervised probation upon his release from incarceration, according to the release.

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Written By WJZ Apprentice Ju’waun Morgan