A reputed gang leader of MS-13 was sentenced to 28 years in prison by a Montgomery County judge on Friday. They gave the first-time offender a hefty sentence, sending a clear message about gang activity in the county, the judge said.
Prosecutors said 27-year-old Jesus Romero was the leader of a “Cabanas” clique of MS-13 in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Romero pleaded guilty in May, 2019 to first degree assault and gang participation.
They say on April 22, 2018 Romero stabbed David Cruz in revenge for being disrespected three months earlier during a cocaine drug deal at a restaurant in Montgomery County.
Judge Cheryl McCally sentenced Romero to 40 years in prison. The Montgomery County States attorney John McCarthy said he is required to serve 28 years before he is deported to El Salvador.
Romero’s defense lawyer asked for a lighter sentence because he said Romero was not the leader of the MS-13 clique but had been forced into the gang when he was selling cell phones in El Salvador.
The judge warned Romero that if he is caught back in the country after his deportation, she’ll sentence him to the additional 12 years, which she suspended when imposing his sentence.