A Washington, D.C., man pleaded guilty this week to federal kidnapping charges in relation to a 19-year-old woman’s murder in Montgomery County.

Jordan Moreno, 23, pleaded guilty in June to murdering Sara Gutierrez-Villatoro in 2019 because he believed she was associated with members of a rival gang. Moreno was a member of the Tiny Locos Surenos clique of the 18th Street Gang, according to court documents, and believed Gutierrez-Villatoro was associated with members of the MS-13 gang.

Moreno and his co-conspirators planned and executed Gutierrez-Villatoro’s murder to increase their status within the 18th Street gang, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In preparation for the murder, Moreno recruited other gang members, the release saide. They communicated with her via social media and arranged to meet on the evening of Nov. 21, 2019. Moreno and the other gang members picked her up in D.C. and drove to a wooded area near Hyattstown, where Moreno and a “juvenile co-conspirator … in turn, used a single pistol to shoot” Gutierrez-VIllatoro in the head and face, killing her, the press release said.

Moreno was sentenced in Montgomery County Circuit Court last month to 50 years in prison for the murder. He faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison for the kidnapping charge.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 28.

Others have been charged in relation to the murder of Gutierrez-Villatoro, according to the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office:

• Rigoberto Machado, 18, of Washington, D.C., previously pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
• Jonathan Rivera-Escobar, 22, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and his sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 28.
• Geovany Dominguez-Escobar, 27, has charges pending locally while he faces federal charges.

Caitlynn Peetz

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com