Alleged MS-13 member agrees to ‘gang probation’ in Pr. William to avoid felony count

August 26, 2013

A Manassas area woman charged with felony gang participation and destruction of property agreed Monday in Prince William County court to complete a program designed to ensure she no longer supports gang activity.

Prince William police say that Stephanie Marielos Cuellar-Panate, 19, of the 8300 block of Ewing Place in Manassas, was part of a group of known Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang members when she was caught in a stolen vehicle on July 3. A few weeks later, she and Edgar Morales-Pacheco, 20, of the 11000 block of Coverstone Hill Circle in Manassas, were charged with destroying property and criminal gang participation after search warrants were executed in July. A steering column had been removed from the vehicle, according to a criminal complaint, and trash and debris were found in the stolen car.

Police say both defendants are known to be part of the MS-13 gang, according to a criminal complaint. The violent MS-13 was originally formed in Los Angeles by immigrants from war-torn El Salvador.

Four teenage boys, two 16-year-olds, a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old were also charged in the incident, according to police. Their names were not released because of they are juveniles.

Prosecutors dropped the felony gang participation charge, the more serious of the two, in exchange for Cuellar-Panate’s participation in pretrial “gang probation” supervision. If she successfully completes the program, prosecutors may dismiss all charges.

General District Court Judge William E. Jarvis accepted the agreement and set a trial date for Aug. 25, 2014. For one year, Cuellar-Panate agreed to waive her Fourth Amendment rights, meaning police can detain and search her at any time; she cannot wear gang colors or get tattoos; she cannot associate with known gang members; she must stay employed or in school; and she must submit to substance abuse evaluations, according to prosecutors.

Morales-Pacheco’s case is scheduled to be heard Sept. 23.

Cuellar-Panate’s attorney, Christopher Feldmann, could not immediately be reached after the hearing.

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