One of the common discussions we’ve been having over the past few weeks, as the partial government shutdown over border wall funding lingers, is how much crime illegal immigrants commit.
There’s actually very little hard data on this, for reasons too long to explain here, but that isn’t the point — the number should be zero.
Logically, it would be impossible to catch every person illegally in this country before they commit a crime, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be deterring people who shouldn’t be in this country illegally from being here in the first place. That’s especially true when it comes to transnational criminal gangs, particularly MS-13.
If you don’t believe that should be a priority, consider the case of Felix Silva-Zuniga.
Silva-Zuniga is an alleged associate of the MS-13 gang who was in this country illegally, according to the Washington, D.C.-based WJLA-TV. He’s accused of paying a gang leader $100 for access to a 14-year-old girl, raping her, and secretly recording the encounter to blackmail the teen into providing more sex
The 52-year-old Honduran native was scheduled to go on trial in a Montgomery County, Maryland, courtroom on Monday.
“According to court documents obtained by ABC7, the girl was a human trafficking victim within the ‘Pinos Locos’ clique of MS-13, which made the suburban town of Wheaton its hub for illegal dealings,” WJLA reported.
One MS-13 member who would give police evidence in return for more favorable treatment says that the girl in question was used by the gang as a cocktail waitress at Lilly’s Restaurant in the Maryland town, where she would “conduct cocaine and marijuana sales, and serve alcohol to customers,” WJLA reported.
“A lot of money was made for her services,” the gang member said, according to the station. When the girl had tried to quit, MS-13 members allegedly beat her with a baseball bat, delivering more than 25 blows to the young woman’s body.
As for Silva-Zuniga’s involvement, that apparently began in August of 2017. When the girl — along with other cocktail waitresses from Lilly’s Restaurant — went to a nearby nightclub, an MS-13 member named Willian Benavides-Pena ordered her to first flirt with and then go home with Silva-Zuniga.
NEW: This ‘MS-13 associate’ paid gang leaders $100 to have sex with a 14yo girl, and then secretly filmed the encounter, MoCo police say.
52yo Felix Silva-Zuniga allegedly used that video to blackmail the teen for more sex.
It happened inside of a home near Wheaton High School. pic.twitter.com/S1iprjuwxt
— Kevin Lewis (@ABC7Kevin) January 11, 2019
“I know you don’t want to do it, but I need this. This man has a lot of money and I need you to do me a favor,” Benavides-Pena told her, according to the station. WJLA reported the victim knew “full well she was being pawned in exchange for drugs and/or cash.”
Police in Montgomery County say the Honduran paid $100 to have sex with her.
Even though the victim told Silva-Zuniga that she was only 14, she says he told her to “just get comfortable” and then proceeded to have sex with her.
“He was like a grandpa,” the victim said, according to WJLA.
She told police that as she was about to leave, Silva-Zuniga told her that he had a video and that he would leak it if she didn’t continue their relationship.
“And so to maintain her image, the victim reportedly had sex with Felix around five to six more times. He even dropped in at Lilly’s Restaurant during her 15th birthday party,” WJLA reported. “The girl cut Felix off only after Montgomery County Police arrested a contingent of MS-13 members in November 2017, for their involvement in a rash of check-cashing business heists.”
One of those arrested was Miguel Ayala-Rivera, a 24-year-old who police allege was one of MS-13’s local kingpins. One of his common activities was pimping out teenage girls — and authorities say he had sent messages authorizing beatings with baseball bats to be visited upon young women under his control who were deemed to be insufficiently obedient.
After the arrests, the young victim told her story to police, WJLA reported. They looked for Silva-Zuniga at his residence only to find he had moved out. However, they found him looking for day work outside of a Home Depot in Aspen Hill. Police also say he was in possession of cocaine at the time, which he tried to get rid of inside the squad car.
MORE: MoCo Police found Silva-Zuniga outside the Home Depot in Aspen Hill, Md. looking for day work.
He handed officers his CASA membership ID card, and reportedly confessed to having sex with the girl.
ICE says Silva-Zuniga is a Honduran native living in the U.S. illegally. pic.twitter.com/b2AmGb47mg
— Kevin Lewis (@ABC7Kevin) January 11, 2019
They say that he acknowledged he had sex with the girl but denied he knew her age or that he blackmailed her. However, a search of his residence revealed “numerous electronic recording devices,” according to WJLA.
Sadly, this is an all-too-common occurrence with gangs like MS-13, according to officials.
“Many of the victims are under the age of 18 and have been reported by their families as missing persons,” Montgomery County police say in court documents, according to the station. “Often, these females are brainwashed into believing that they need to depend on the gang for survival.”
A court will now decide the fate of Felix Silva-Zuniga. If he’s guilty of what he’s accused of, consider that this case is part of the wider transnational criminal element that the American left doesn’t admit is a crisis.
Just as they say the killing of Newman, California, police Cpl. Ronil Singh doesn’t fit into a larger narrative, so they’ll look beyond this and claim it has nothing to do with the big picture.
America isn’t going to buy that forever. Everyone who hears this story is going to realize that if what this young woman is saying is true, her life would be a lot different if Silva-Zuniga and the MS-13 gang wasn’t in this country to begin with.
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