Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Michael L. Chapman, Loudoun County Sheriff, and Maggie DeBoard, Town of Herndon Chief of Police, made the announcement.
This case is an example of the hard work and partnership between FBI agents and police detectives who serve on the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force. These collaborative efforts are essential to investigating complex gang crimes and bringing gang members to justice.
Benitez Hernandez, who was charged with multiple counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering as well as the discharge of a firearm during or in relation to a crime of violence, faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment if convicted. Benitez Hernandez, who made his initial appearance today in front of United States Magistrate Judge Ivan D. Davis, will next appear for arraignment in front of United States District Judge Claude M. Hilton within the next fourteen days.
According to the indictment, Benitez Hernandez, an alleged member of the notoriously violent transnational street gang Mara Salvatrucha 13 (“MS-13”), attempted to murder two individuals on September 13, 2008, in Loudoun County, Virginia. Benitez Hernandez allegedly committed the double shooting to increase his position and stature within MS-13. On May 22, 2013, Benitez Hernandez was apprehended, in El Salvador, by an elite Salvadoran investigative unit known as the Transnational Anti Gang (TAG) Task Force. The TAG is composed of specially trained Salvadoran National Police investigators who work closely with the FBI on transnational investigations. This extradition marks the first time in recent history that a Salvadoran citizen has been extradited to the United States to be held accountable for alleged gang activity committed in the United States.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, and the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force with assistance from the Town of Herndon Police Department. The United States law enforcement partners involved in the investigation and prosecution of Benitez Hernandez praised the outstanding efforts of the Salvadoran National Police for their assistance in bringing this fugitive to justice. Acting United States Attorney, Dana J. Boente, also thanked the FBI’s Legal Attaché office in El Salvador, the Government of El Salvador, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs. Assistant United States Attorneys Patricia Haynes and Zach Terwilliger are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.
From US DOJ, Eastern District Virginia