Montgomery County gang leader sentenced 15 years for videotaped - KMSP-TV

Montgomery County gang leader sentenced 15 years for videotaped sex assault

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Andres Cortez (Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office) Andres Cortez (Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office)
ROCKVILLE, Md. -

The leader of a violent Montgomery County gang known as "Lil' R" was sentenced Wednesday for his role in a videotaped sex assault.

It is a video so disturbing Judge Cheryl McCally said it was one of the most horrific things she had ever seen.

Andres Cortez was given 15 years in prison for directing a video in which a drugged and inebriated 16-year-old female was subjected to a sexual assault by several other gang members.

The images are so upsetting, Judge McCally said it was "mind bending" to think it was ever made.

Cortez was the self-admitted leader of Lil' R. It is a gang he began in grade school as a preteen and used to his advantage as a continuing criminal enterprise in the Wheaton and Olney neighborhoods of Montgomery County, according to prosecutors.

"He was proud to be the leader of Lil' R in Montgomery County, and as that leader, he committed one of the most heinous crimes you can commit -- sex offense a woman we believe was drugged," said Assistant State’s Attorney Marybeth Ayres.

According to prosecutors, Elmer Vasquez, Rogelio Sierra-Duran and Mohammed Ahmed all took part in the video that was shot inside a home in Olney belonging to a known Lil’ R gang member.

A court affidavit says the victim can be heard crying out in a sharp wail while two men are holding her up.

"They were very much a danger,” said Ayres, “and involved in many different kind of crimes including sex offenses, including some cases that are still under investigation. So it wasn't just one kind of crime. They were doing everything.”

Police discovered the clips from the sex assault after Cortez showed the video to a co-worker, who then reported it to a supervisor.

They were contained on a phone police seized in a search of the gang leader’s home.

"When we first watched this video, no one knew who this person was, so It took a lot of great police work to identify this young lady who to this day does not know or remember these crimes being committed against her," said Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Mays.

In court Wednesday, the gang leader’s mother showed up to speak to the judge. She declined to comment outside.

Kevin Valdez was also there. He is one of 20 Lil' R gang members already prosecuted by the state's attorneys office.

"I think they underestimate the police and all of us and our knowledge and they underestimate that we would know who he was and be pointing him out to the judge," said Ayres.

The teenage victim was also in court for the sentencing. She declined to make a victim impact statement.

Cortez is already serving a nine-year sentence for assault and will have to serve that first.


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