Maj. Brian Reilly, commander of the Prince George’s police criminal investigations division, said the gang “turned on one of their own” during a meeting last week at the home of one of the gang leaders.
“Our victim in this case was part of this gang, and these were his gang member friends who turned on him,” Reilly said.
Members of an MS-13 clique based in Fairfax County, Va., had gathered at a home in the 7000 block of Varnum Street in Landover Hills, Md., on March 8, Reilly said. During the meeting, an altercation occurred that prompted the “violent attack” in which Chicas was stabbed as many as 100 times.
Gang members then took Chicas’s body to Stafford County, Va., where they “dumped the body on the side of the road and also set him on fire,” Reilly said.
A Stafford County sheriff’s deputy driving on River Road discovered the burning body at about 5 a.m. March 9, police said.
Law enforcement initially did not know the body was that of Chicas, who had been reported missing from Falls Church, Va. Authorities released a photo showing a tattoo on his left forearm that helped identify him.
Stafford County deputies initially investigated the homicide and detained several suspects, who led them to the home in Prince George’s. Stafford County deputies met with Prince George’s detectives March 13, when authorities executed a search warrant at the Varnum Street home.
“It was clear that the murder took place” in that home, Reilly said.
Prince George’s police took over the homicide investigation Thursday.
Those who have been arrested in Chicas’s killing and charged with first-degree murder and other related counts are Jose Ordonez-Zometa, 29, of Varnum Street in Landover Hills; Jonathan Castillo-Rivera, 20, of Annandale, Va.; Kevin Rodriguez-Flores, 18, of no fixed address; and Jose Hernandez-Garcia, 25, of no fixed address. A 16-year-old, Christian Martinez-Ramirez, of Falls Church, was also charged as an adult. Ordonez-Zometa is in Prince George’s County jail, police said. The others are in custody in Virginia.
Ordonez-Zometa was the gang leader who was living in the home where the attack occurred, police said.
The sprawling investigation has involved multiple agencies and jurisdictions, including the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland, the FBI and local law enforcement gang units.
Reilly said that detectives are still investigating the exact motive in the case but that it was clear the incident was about “sending a message.”
“He was stabbed around 100 times,” Reilly said. “That goes to how violent this attack was and how it wasn’t just one person who did this. The group turned on their own.”
Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.