CRIME

Darwin Melgar Escobar, MS-13 gang member, sentenced in racketeering scheme

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Another member of the notorious MS-13 was sentenced Friday in connection with a wide-ranging racketeering operation.

23-year-old Darwin Melgar Escobar was sentenced to 18 years in prison and was cited as a "gun-toting leader" of the gang. He was found to have been part of a scheme in which the gang extorted prostitution rings in a Falls Church neighborhood.

"This sentence demonstrates the resolve of law enforcement to dismantle transnational gangs, like MS-13, as they continue their attempts to exert control in Northern Virginia through violence," ICE Special Agent in Charge John P. Torres said.

Documents say that Escobar was part of a clique of the gang, led by 21-year-old Jose Anibal Vigil, that was involved in the attempted murder of two rival gang members and the extortion of prostitutes.

In May of 2008, Vigil, Escobar and other gang members beat rival gang members in the Culmore area of Falls Church with a pick axe, machete and chain. Two rival members were seriously injured. Last year, members of the gang collected "protection money" from at least two prostitution rings in Culmore.

Vigil was sentenced to 20 years in prison on similar charges last month.

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