The Washington Post

District MS-13 member sentenced to life in prison

A District member of the MS-13 gang was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for crimes ranging from murder to racketeering.

William Cordova, 26, also known as “Centinella,” and two other men — recent immigrants from El Salvador — were convicted on numerous charges related to their violent conduct in MS-13 after a lengthy trial that ended in December.

Cordova was found guilty in the shooting death of Edwin Ventura, 18, and an assault on Nelson Maldonado in the 2900 block of Sherman Avenue NW in Columbia Heights the night of April 22, 2007. The shooting, authorities said, was the result of a gang-related feud.

Cordova was also found guilty of shooting Feliciana Flores-Esquina Flores twice in the head as she stood at a bus stop in the 3000 block of Georgia Avenue NW that June 1, and of shooting three men in Alexandria in 2006.

“The driving force behind Cordova’s criminal conduct was his membership in the MS-13 enterprise and his relentless effort to execute more violence in furtherance of the enterprise,” said court papers filed by assistant U.S. Attorneys Nihar R. Mohanty and Gilberto Guerrero Jr.

After a hearing in the District’s federal court, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon sentenced Cordova to life in prison plus 150 years.

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. Cordova’s co-defendants, Jose Gutierrez, 22, and Melvin Sorto, 24, are scheduled to be sentenced by Leon next month.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.