By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Three men with ties to Mara Salvatrucha were indicted on charges of killing a Maryland man during a robbery in Alexandria, the latest step in a federal crackdown on the gang also known as MS-13, prosecutors said Wednesday.
The three men were charged Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria with robbing and killing Claros Luna on Manor Road on July 29. Luna, 40, was found fatally shot behind the wheel of a silver 2002 Honda Accord.
Court documents said that Luna was a pimp who had just taken a woman from Maryland to Virginia for prostitution and that the men charged in his death were involved in a conspiracy to extort money from people involved in prostitution.
Several federal cases have targeted MS-13, which is considered the Washington region's largest and most violent gang. Seven MS-13 members have been convicted on murder-related charges this year in Alexandria federal court. Officials have said the probe is aimed at crippling the gang in Northern Virginia by targeting its leaders and using federal racketeering statutes once employed against the Mafia.
The latest indictment charges Eris Arguera, 21, of Alexandria, Alcides Umaña, 21, of Arlington County and Adolfo Portillo, 28, of Alexandria with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and extortion, interference with commerce by robbery and extortion, and use of a firearm during a violent crime causing death.
All three could face the death penalty, prosecutors said.
Lawyers for Portillo and Umaña declined to comment Wednesday. A lawyer for Arguera did not return phone calls.
Court documents said Alexandria police were alerted to Luna's death when a witness flagged down an officer at 6:40 p.m. July 29 and said her friend had been killed. Luna's body was found in the Honda, according to an affidavit signed by Alexandria Detective Thomas O. Durkin and filed in federal court.
The affidavit says that the witness was a prostitute and that Luna was her pimp, and that a person posing as a prospective client had arranged to meet the woman at an apartment in the 700 block of Manor Road. Luna drove the woman there and waited in the Honda.
The woman was accosted in the apartment building by a man with a gun, the affidavit says. The assailant and two other men forced the woman into the Honda, said that they were members of MS-13 and demanded an extortion payment for prostitution activities in the area.
When Luna resisted, he was shot several times and robbed, the affidavit says.