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ICE and FBI arrest 10 Mara Salvatrucha gang members for brutal assault and sale of a 13-year-old girl

They beat her with a baseball bat and offered her to men in exchange for money and drugs

She was trafficked in Virginia and Maryland

Photo: Aurelia Ventura / La Opinion

Ten men associated with the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang were arrested and charged with assault and sexual trafficking of a minor, in a joint operation by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the FBI, in Washington DC and surroundings.

The detainees are seven original undocumented immigrants from El Salvador: Moisés Orlando Celaya-Veliz (25), José Eliezar Molina Veliz (20), Santos Ernesto Gutiérrez Castro (21), Carlos José Turicios Villatoro (22), Jonathan Rafael Zelaya-Veliz (24), Nelson Ezequiel Caballero Portillo (24) and Luis Alberto Gonzales (31); he Guatemalan Gilberto Morales (31); and the Hondurans Sioni Alexander Bonilla González (20) and Orlando Alexis Salmeron Funez (38).

Celaya, Molina, Gutiérrez, Turicios and Bonilla ientered the U.S. as unaccompanied minors, according to a statement from ICE.

Another unidentified individual was arrested by the FBI and is currently not subject to immigration authorities. However, ICE is monitoring the case.

According to court documents, in August 2018 a 13-year-old girl ran away from a youth home in Northern Virginia. Shortly after fleeing, she reached out to members of MS-13, who. they beat her 26 times with a baseball bat as part of the initiation of a gang. Then, she was sexually trafficked in Virginia and Maryland, in exchange for money and drugs.

The minor was subsequently hit again with a bat 26 times. She was later transported to Maryland, where she was sold to numerous gang members and other customers for cash. Law enforcement agencies recovered photographs and videos of the victim while she was being sexually exploited, along with numerous messages on social media about trafficking and sexual exploitation.

MS-13, a notoriously violent criminal gang, was designated as transnational criminal organization by the Treasury Department in 2012.