A 24-year-old District member of MS-13 was sentenced to life in prison plus 45 years Wednesday for participating in a series of gang-related crimes that included murder and weapons offenses, according to federal prosecutors.
Melvin Sorto, 24, was convicted in December — along with two other MS-13 members, who have also received life sentences — in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was the last to be sentenced. Among their crimes, the three men were found guilty of participating in a conspiracy that resulted in the slaying of Edwin Ventura, 18, in 2007. U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon has said in court that the crimes were “reprehensible” and that the three men were lucky that federal prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.
MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, is considered by authorities to be one of the nation’s most violent street gangs and one with international reach.