A self-admitted MS-13 member was charged with taking a juvenile across state lines for prostitution, officials said.
Yimmy Anthony Pineda Penado, who is also known as Critico and Spike, was arrested on July 31, according to court records. His detention and preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday in federal court in Alexandria.
MS-13 is a violent international street gang that has a substantial presence in the D.C. area. A former MS-13 associate who is cooperating with authorities told law enforcement that Pineda Penado was the leader of a clique and had about 25 to 30 gang members reporting to him, according to a court document.
The informant, who has been convicted of sex trafficking children, told police that he worked with Pineda Penado to operate a juvenile prostitution scheme for a few months. Pineda Penado usually stayed with the girls and gave them drugs and alcohol to keep them compliant, the informant said.
In the fall of 2009, the informant was at a Falls Church hotel arranging for juveniles to have sex for money when police interrupted his operation. The next day, Pineda Penado picked up two girls who had been working for the informant and took them to Maryland, where he continued to use them as sex workers.
A juvenile female told law enforcement that Pineda Penado made her have sex for money when she was 15 and 16 years old. Pineda and other MS-13 members sold the girl for sex at hotels in Northern Virginia, and he then took her to an MS-13-controlled house in Maryland.
For the next two weeks, Pineda Penado arranged for the teen and at least one other girl to receive money in exchange for sex. According to the court document, he told the teen to lie about her name and age, charge extra for sex acts other than intercourse and act like she enjoyed the sex. He gave her condoms for her "appointments," and he also gave her marijuana, crystal meth, ecstacy, tequila and beer to ensure that she could be taken advantage of easily.
Pineda Penado, who is originally from El Salvador, is in the country illegally, officials said. Robert Jenkins, Pineda Penado's attorney, said it was too early for him to comment on the evidence because he only recently received the case. He said he plans to argue there is not probable cause for the charge against his client.