Greenbelt man sentenced to life in prison for gang-related racketeering, murder

A Greenbelt, Maryland, man has been sentenced to life in prison Monday after being convicted of racketeering and taking part in the 2019 fatal stabbing of a Virginia teenager.

According to court documents, 30-year-old Jose Rafael Ortega-Ayala, a member of the MS-13 gang’s Maryland-based Los Ghettos Criminales Salvatruchas clique, took part in the murder of 16-year-old Jacson Pineda-Chicas of Falls Church, Virginia.

In 2019, Ortega-Ayala and other members met and discussed Pineda-Chicas’ alleged cooperation with law enforcement. He and another member then assaulted the teen.

The group’s leader, Jose Domingo Ordonez-Zometa of Landover Hills, then ordered Ortega-Ayala and another gang member to kill the teenager, stabbing him over 100 times. Ordonez-Zometa was also sentenced to life in prison in March after being convicted of murder, racketeering and conspiracy in attempting to cover up Pineda-Chicas’ death.

After the murder, Ordonez-Zometa ordered Ortega-Ayala and other gang members to conceal and destroy evidence of the murder. They transported the body to “a secluded location in Stafford County, Virginia, set the body on fire, then destroyed and concealed evidence of the murder from the vehicle used to transport the victim,” according to a news release.

Ortega-Ayala was convicted of racketeering and murder in aid of racketeering and conspiracies and for conspiracy to destroy and conceal evidence.

Racketeering refers to organized criminal activities that use coordinated schemes to make money, often through extortion, fraud or coercion, according to U.S. News and World Report.