Police say gang recruited teen

A Mara Salvatrucha gang member wanted by police turned himself in Wednesday night at police headquarters, said Detective Dennis Mangan.

Alfonso Oscar, a member of the gang with Salvadoran roots, is charged with recruiting a juvenile for a criminal gang, Mangan said.

A 17-year-old girl told police that gang members had sex with her Sunday in the Manassas area to initiate her into the gang, Mangan said.

The girl told police that she was given a choice in her initiation. She could be “sexed in” — join by allowing six of the gang to have sex with her for five minutes each — or she could be “jumped in” by allowing gang members to beat her for 13 seconds, police said.

Oscar, address unknown, is being held without bond along with Manassas residents Reyes Antonio Avila-Villalta, aka Perverso, 22, of 8710 Barnett St., and Jose Hercules-Pineda, aka Gringo Brother, 23, of 8982 Miles Place, Manassas, who were arrested for the attempted recruitment Wednesday, Mangan said.

Carlos Francisco Coreas-Melgar, 19, is also wanted in the incident. He remains at large and should be considered armed and dangerous, Mangan said.

Mangan said all four belong to the gang.

Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13 in Northern Virginia, was formed in the late 1980s when more than a million immigrants and refugees fled the civil war in El Salvador, according to the Web site for National Alliance of Gang Investigators Associations.

The “13” identifies gangs outside of California.

Many of the Salvadorans settled in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, the site said.

Some of the immigrants had ties to the violent Salvadoran street gang La Mara, while others had been members of Marti National Liberation Front, a group of Salvadoran peasants who were trained in explosives and guerrilla warfare, the Web site stated.

Originally, Mara Salvatrucha formed for protection, but quickly became well organized and extremely violent, the Web site said.

According to the Web site, Mara Salvatrucha is involved in a variety of criminal activities, including exporting stolen vehicles, weapons smuggling, carjacking, selling illegal firearms and drug trafficking.

Prince William Police Chief Charlie T. Deane said law enforcement officials first became aware of gang activity in 1992, but the emergence of Mara Salvatrucha in Prince William is a recent development.

“We’ve been aware of that outfit. It’s a well-recognized, well-organized gang,” Deane said.

Regional efforts have been in place for some time in an effort to combat gang activity, Deane said.

“Probably the most important thing we’ve done is establish the regional gang database,” the chief said.

The database gathers gang information from major police jurisdictions in the region. By comparing data, law enforcement officials can monitor activity and be prepared to act.

So far, Deane said, much of the gang activity in the county has been restricted to petty rivalries. “We’ve seen more inter-gang activity than we have seen gang members assaulting others, I would say. But it’s a regional issue and we have our share is the way it looks.”

Sgt. Gregg Pass, of the county gang investigation unit, said his unit identifies gangs which are involved in criminal activity and focuses attention there.

Pass estimates there are 50 members of Mara Salvatrucha currently active in Prince William County.

“The police department has no interest in a group of people that call themselves a gang that are law abiding. We have no interest in that. It’s not our business,” Pass said. “What we do have an interest in, though, is groups of people who call themselves gangs that are involved in criminal activity.

“I would like everybody to be aware of, at least in the county, we do have a gang unit and we’re concerned about these types of crimes and we’re all over them whenever they do pop up,” Pass said.

Staff writer Keith Walker can be reached at (703) 878-8063.

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