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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

18th Street gang member gets second life sentence in connection to Gaithersburg murder

14:58 |

federal judge sentenced a convicted 18th Street gang member to a second term of life in prison Monday related to two homicides in 2009. Joel Yonathan Ventura-Quintanilla, 25, of Germantown was charged in 2009 with 10 other 18th Street gang members linked to the 2009 murder of Dennys Alfredo Guzman-Saenz, 15, of Langley Park. Ventura-Quintanilla and another co-defendant, Ysaud Flores, 33, of Gaithersburg, were also charged in the 2009 shooting death of Manuel Garcia-Fuentes in Washington, D.C., according to Flores’ indictment. Ventura-Quintanilla pleaded guilty to Guzman-Saenz’ murder on Sept. 17, 2010, in Montgomery County Circuit Court, receiving a sentence of life in prison, according to court records. Federal prosecutors then used Ventura-Quintanilla’s gang affiliation and the February 2009 murder to bring him up on racketeering charges in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, said Laura Kelsey Rhodes, Ventura-Quintanilla’s attorney. Ventura-Quintanilla pleaded guilty to the racketeering charges, receiving a life sentence on those charges before U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus on Monday. Ventura-Quintanilla forfeited most of his rights to appeal the federal sentence in his plea agreement, Rhodes said, adding that she does not believe her client will appeal the sentence. “He spoke for a while at his sentencing,” Rhodes said. “He is deeply remorseful for his actions and accepts the lengthy imprisonment he’s received.” Due to his prior life sentence for murder and the nature of federal sentences, Ventura-Quintanilla will likely never be granted parole, said U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman Marcia Murphy. “The chances are quite slim that he will ever be released,” Murphy said. Flores pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in July 2010 and is scheduled to be sentenced May 9, according to Montgomery County Circuit Court records. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the federal racketeering charges due to his involvement with Ventura-Quintanilla in the death of Garcia-Fuentes. Guzman-Saenz, a High Point High School student, was found stabbed in a Gaithersburg park Jan. 19, 2009, by Montgomery County police. Ventura-Quintanilla and others kidnapped Guzman-Saenz from a bus stop in Langley Park on Jan. 18, 2009, while searching the community for members of another violent street gang, MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, to harm, police said. Guzman-Saenz was not a member of MS-13 but was friends with gang members, police said. The 18th Street gang members took Guzman-Saenz to a residence in Germantown, then to Malcolm King Park in Gaithersburg. Guzman-Saenz was taken to a stream in the park and stabbed 72 times, according to police.

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