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Traffic sign tagged to mark territory for the El Salvaldorian gang MS13 in the Washington, DC, suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland

Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Boy, just 16 years old, stabbed to death and set on fire by MS-13 in DC suburb

Stabbed over 100 times by at least five gang members, police say

A 16-year-old boy was stabbed over 100 times, and his body set on fire. He was murdered in a neighborhood in Maryland, a suburb of D.C. His body was dumped in Fairfax, Virginia. Another D.C. satellite. The killers were members of violent drug gang MS-13. The boy's offense?

He wanted to leave the gang, his mother says.

Police announced on Friday that they have arrested five male MS-13 members in connection with the slaying.

Kevin Rodriguez-Flores, Jonathan Castillo-Rivera, and Jose Hernandez-Garcia are in custody in Virginia. They are adults, and are under arrest for first-degree murder, among other charges. Christian Martinez-Ramirez is also under arrest on the same charges. He is 16 but charged as an adult. Jose Ordonez-Zometa, the fifth accomplice, is under arrest in Maryland, and police say he is the gang leader.

The victim, Jacson Chicas, fled El Salvador with his family to escape MS-13's clutches. That's according to his mother, who spoke with an NBC affiliate station.

Chicas' mother said that they came to the United States from El Salvador to escape the gang, but were not able to do so. As the White House has stressed, MS-13 is active all across the United States. According to police investigating this murder, the "clique" of MS-13 involved operates in Fairfax, Virginia. That's right outside Washington, D.C. The murder took place at the gang leader's home in a Maryland suburb of D.C.

The brutality of the slaying is the gang's calling card. President Donald Trump was raked over the coals in 2018 by the press and Democrats for referring to members of this gang as "animals." He was accused of "dehumanizing" these killers. But this list of inhuman acts of grotesque brutality by MS-13 this writer's op-ed for USA Today show the madness of that backlash.

That brutality includes reprisal not just for attempting to leave the gang, as the mother of the victim in this case alleges her son was attempting, but even for refusing to join the gang in the first place, which is the reason for one of several machete hacking and stabbing murders by MS-13 that have been in court in just the last week.

Maj. Brian Reilly of the Prince George's County Police told the Washington Post that the slaying was the gang "sending a message."

"He was stabbed around 100 times," Reilly said. "That goes to how violent this attack was and how it wasn't just one person who did this. The group turned on their own."

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Caleb Howe

Caleb Howe