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Gang leader sentenced to more than 17 years for child sex trafficking

This news story was published on December 18, 2012.
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Yimmy Pineda-Penado, aka Critico, 22, of Alexandria, Va., was sentenced by United States District Judge Anthony J. Trenga today to 210 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for his role in a gang-run juvenile prostitution ring.

The sentencing follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Washington, D.C., and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Washington Field Office with assistance from the Fairfax County Police Department and the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force.

“Homeland Security Investigations is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate gang members and associates involved in sex trafficking, especially those instances involving juveniles forced into prostitution,” said HSI Washington, D.C., Special Agent in Charge John P. Torres. “HSI will continue to aggressively investigate transnational gang members, like Yimmy Pineda-Penado, who engage in sex trafficking and other violent crimes.”

According to court documents and testimony, Pineda-Penado, originally from El Salvador, became involved in juvenile sex trafficking through his membership in MS-13. He was personally responsible for prostituting at least one juvenile female. His involvement in MS-13’s juvenile sex trafficking scheme lasted from the fall 2009 until the spring 2010.

MS-13 members prostituted the victim at various motels and apartments in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, and Falls Church, Va., as well as in Maryland. The victim was not permitted to leave the prostitution scheme and MS-13 members plied her with drugs and alcohol to make her more compliant while her body was being exploited for profit.

Founded in 2004, the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaboration of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies – along with nongovernmental organizations – dedicated to combating human trafficking and related crimes. From FY 2011 to the present, 44 defendants have been prosecuted in 25 cases in the Eastern District of Virginia for human trafficking and trafficking-related conduct involving at least 32 victims.

Anyone who suspects instances of human trafficking is encouraged to call the HSI tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (866-347-2423) or to complete its online tip form: Anonymous calls are welcome.

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