Credit: File image

An MS-13 gang member from Silver Spring was sentenced to 51 years in prison for his role in a 2016 murder, as well as robbery and firearm charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

Luis Antonio Cruz-Hernandez, 27, a member of the MS-13 gang, conspired with others to kill someone on Nov. 30, 2016, according to a press release.

MS-13, which operates in small groups in Maryland and throughout the country, requires members to commit acts of violence, and to attack and kill rival gang members, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In November 2016, a member of the Pinos Locotes Salvatrucha gang, a clique of MS-13, was hired to kill someone in exchange for money, with Cruz-Hernandez helping, according to the plea agreement. Cruz-Hernandez conspired with two others to kill the victim.

The plan was for one of the co-conspirators to pay the other co-conspirator, who would then pay the clique member, according to the plea agreement. It does not identify the other people involved.

The two co-conspirators paid for a hotel room near the victim’s home, where the co-conspirators, the clique member and Cruz-Hernandez stayed. Cruz-Hernandez and the co-conspirators then “conducted surveillance” of the victim in deciding when to kill him, the press release says.

On Nov. 30, 2016, one co-conspirator drove Cruz-Hernandez and the clique member to an area near the victim’s home, before the clique member shot and killed the victim, according to the plea agreement. The clique member was then paid for the murder and gave a portion to Cruz-Hernandez, according to authorities.

In addition to pleading guilty to his role in the killing, Cruz-Hernandez also pleaded guilty to seven armed robberies in Virginia and Maryland between June and November 2017, which collectively led to more than $250,000 in losses to businesses that were robbed, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Cruz-Hernandez was sentenced to 51 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He must also pay more than $250,000 in restitution for the robberies.

Manuel Retureta, an attorney who represents Cruz-Hernandez, could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

Dan Schere

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com.