Cristian Villigran-Morales worked hard in landscaping in Maryland to help his father make ends meet back in his home country of Guatemala.
Oscar Delgado-Perez long had been up to no good.
He belonged to the deadly MS-13 gang, according to the Washington Post, and had been deported twice, but still made his way back to the United States.
On June 16, their paths crossed, and that may have ended the life of Villigran-Morales, who was just 18 years old.
Delgado-Perez, 28, has been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing Villigran-Morales more than 40 times – all to impress his gang, according to police.
Delgado-Perez had been deported to El Salvador twice in the past two years, the Post said, citing U.S. immigration officials. Police found him at a Red Roof Inn on Wednesday.
He was expected to show up at Montgomery County court on Friday. At least two other MS-13 gang members were involved in the stabbing, the Post said.
Authorities say that the suspect “directed” the attack on Villigran-Morales, who evidently was lured into a park by a girl, Vanesa Alvarado, who suggested they might have sex.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE, said that Delgado-Perez was deported to El Salvador on October 24, 2014 and on February 26, 2015. He could be deported again, though he would likely serve his sentence first.
Montgomery County Police Department Chief Tom Manger said that while his agency supports cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents, his officers also must not be seen by the local immigrant community as quasi-immigration officials.
Manger told the Post that having the trust of the immigrant community is crucial to their willingness to approach police if they are victims or witnesses.
“We have to strike that right balance,” said Manger. “We’ve got to be able to go into those communities and have trust and cooperation.”
He acknowledged the frustration among many residents over the ability of dangerous immigrants such as Delgado-Perez to return to the United States after having been deported.
“Certainly any community is better off without these individuals,” he said.
As for what happened on the day that Villagran-Morales was killed, authorities say that the MS-13 gang members approached the victim and the girl who lured him there and invited him into the woods to smoke pot.
Another suspected gang member told police that they thought that Villagran-Morales belonged to a rival gang, but authorities believe that was just an excuse to gain gang credibility.
Police told the Post that they are still looking for another suspect, Jose Coreas Ventura, who is 20 and considered armed and dangerous.
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