ROCKVILLE, Md. - A 20-year-old woman was sentenced to 95 years in prison for setting up several gang-related armed robberies that took place in Montgomery County last year.
The robberies spanned from September to November and were all believed to be part of an overreaching conspiracy to benefit the MS-13 gang and to send money back to El Salvador.
Josselin Ramirez, who pleaded guilty in January, has admitted to being an integral part of the planning, casing the businesses and acting as a lookout during three violent robberies, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen.
Surveillance video in one of the armed robberies that took place on Nov. 3 at a Check Cash Depot on Georgia Ave in Silver Spring was released following the sentencing. The footage was shown during Ramirez's trial and shows several suspects armed with guns, all believed to be MS-13 gang members, barging into the store, getting behind the glass counter and ordering employees to the ground.
The suspects would later lead police on chase on the Beltway that ended deadly. The driver of the getaway car was killed trying to run across Interstate 495 while four other men were arrested.
Investigators believe Ramirez could also be behind the planning of similar armed robberies in Prince George's County and Virginia, and even two murders back in her home country of El Salvador.
On Thursday, the defense asked the judge for a lighter sentence for Ramirez so that federal authorities could act on an immigration detainer issued for Ramirez sooner to deport her.
But the judge ultimately disagreed and gave her back-to-back maximum sentences for each count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and gang participation.
"We just believe that justice should be served and the victims in this case, the business owners and the people in the community who were frightened out of their wits on those days when those assaults took place and that car chase happened, they should be made whole," said Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office spokesperson Ramon Korionoff. "And a quick sentence, a quick turnaround to have her go back to live as a free woman in her original country of origin does not sit well with a vast majority of people where they believe she should be held responsible for this crime. This is a crime that really shocks the consciousness of the community. These are folks that are hardworking people, everyday people just doing their job."
Two men involved in the Nov. 3 armed robbery have already pleaded guilty to the crime. Two others are currently going through the legal system facing charges.
Meanwhile, Ramirez will have to serve 25 percent of her sentence - a little less than 20 years - before she is eligible to apply for parole.