Three Gang Members Plead Guilty to Leesburg Assault

A 19-year-old MS-13 gang member faces 40 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to three felony charges.

Jose Israel Alvarenga appeared before Judge J. Howe Brown Jr. in Loudoun County Circuit Court this morning and pleaded guilty to charges of gang participation, malicious wounding and obstruction of justice.

The case stems from a Nov. 7, 2015, assault in Leesburg.

Prosecutors said Alvarenga approached a Leesburg man he believed to be a member of the 18th Street gang. The victim denied any involvement in the 18th Street gang and Alvarenga demanded that he join the MS-13 gang. When the victim told Alvarenga that he did not want to join a gang and walked away, he was kicked in the back. Alvarenga threatened to kill the victim if he did not join MS-13. The victim fled from the area.

Few days later, the victim was attacked in a parking lot by two MS-13 gang members who beat him and stabbed him with a machete-style bladed weapon. He suffered multiple stab wounds to his head, neck and hands, losing a finger in the attack and suffering permanent scarring to his face, ear, head, neck and hands.

The attackers were identified as Josue Jeremias Cruz Gonzalez and Jose Roel Guevara Machado.

Alvarenga was arrested on Nov. 16, 2015, on warrants related the assault. Prosecutors said that while in jail, Alvarenga offered to pay other inmates to kill the victim prior to his trial; he requested a photo of the victim’s head cut off as proof. Alvarenga told inmates that he had instructed Cruz Gonzalez and Machado to kill the victim.

Alvarenga is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 10; he faces up to 40 years in prison.

Cruz Gonzalez, 20, pleaded guilty to malicious wounding and gang participation on July 22. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 3. Guevara Machado, 21, pleaded guilty to malicious wounding and gang participation on July 25. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 14. Both face up to 30 years in prison.