Former member of MS-13 gang found guilty in connection with fatal 2018 shooting of 19-year-old in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A 24-year-old former member of the MS-13 gang has been found guilty in the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old back in 2018.

In July of 2018, the body of a man, identified as 19-year-old Jairo Armando Sanchez-Guardado, of Chesapeake, was found on the shoreline in the Lake Smith/Lawson area by two kayakers.

In a release from the office of Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Virginia Beach, Sanchez-Guardado, was found “slumped over in a wooded area of the shoreline.”

The kayakers called police who determined, along with the medical examiner, that the victim died from a gunshot wound in the back of his head.

After an extensive investigation which included video surveillance, cell phone data, and witness interviews, detectives revealed that the murder was related to MS-13 gang activity.

MS-13 is a transnational criminal street gang with international membership.

Authorities subsequently arrested now-24-year-old Melvin Edgardo Molina-Ramos and four fellow MS-13 gang members involved in the murder of Guardado. Officials say the suspects conspired to kill the victim because they believed he was involved with a rival gang.

At that time, Molina-Ramos was considered the most senior member of MS-13 out of the five co-defendants. Officials say Molina-Ramos ordered Guardado’s murder. As a part of their MS-13 gang membership, the three co-defendants at the scene of the homicide killed Guardado and were threatened with death by Molina-Ramos if they failed or if they spoke of the homicide.

Molina-Ramos solicited and conspired in the murder and provided assistance to the three co-defendants after the murder was completed. Three co-defendants have trials pending in Virginia Beach Circuit Court.

In a recent court hearing, Melvin Edgardo Molina-Ramos was found guilty by a jury on several charges including solicitation to commit murder, conspiracy to commit murder, participating in criminal
act for the benefit of a gang, and accessory after the fact to homicide.

His sentencing is set for February 23, 2022.

Three of his co-defendants currently have trials pending in Virginia Beach Circuit Court.

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