A Maryland woman who investigators say confessed to setting up two slayings in El Salvador received the maximum sentence of 95 years in prison on robbery and gang charges.
Josselin Ramirez is linked to a rash of check cashing store robberies in Montgomery County. She cased out check cashing stores and other businesses and a group of heavily armed men would rob them. She was not present during the robberies.
In one heist at an Exxon station in Wheaton, the robbers got $120,000 in cash. But the last robbery only netted a couple of hundred dollars and resulted in the arrests of several people, including Ramirez. One of the suspects was accidentally run over by a police officer following a pursuit on the Beltway.
"This is a crime that really shocks the consciousness of the community," Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office spokesman Ramon Korionoff said.
Earlier this year, the 20-year-old, who had no prior record, pleaded guilty on three counts of gang participation and three counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
State sentencing guidelines called for nine to 24 years, but the judge sentenced Ramirez to the maximum for what he called absolutely ruthless crimes. He called her a scary human being who needs to be in prison to prevent her from harming anyone else.
Investigators said she is a member of the MS-13 gang. They found photos of her with guns and making gang signs.
During an interview with investigators, Ramirez said she helped set up two slayings in her home country of El Salvador. One of the victims was a police officer. She said she was working on a third killing to improve her status with MS-13.
"She wanted to get a promotion, and so that third plot was underway, supposedly," Korionoff said.
Because the crimes she pleaded guilty to are considered nonviolent in Maryland, she could get out of prison after completing 25 percent of her sentence.
The judge said he will reconsider the sentence in five years.