ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WRIC) — A man who is believed to be one of the highest-ranking members of MS-13 in the United States has been sentenced in federal court to life in prison.

According to the United State Department of Justice, as the “First Word,” or leader, of the MS-13 clique Guanacos Lil Cycos Salvatruchas (GLCS), 33-year-old Andy Tovar ordered the murders of two people and the attempted murder of a third person in northern Virginia between 2017 and 2019.

In July of 2017, GLCS members and associates, under the direction of Tovar, went to Charlottesville from Prince William County to murder someone whom they believed was a member of a rival gang. The group of four used knives and a machete to stab the victim over 140 times, at one point striking them so hard with the machete that the handle broke.

In March of 2019, 22-year-old Roberto Cruz Moreno, a “chequeo” or soldier in GLCS, also known as “Solo,” picked up three fellow GLCS members and a second victim and drove them to an isolated area in Bristow. There, one of the GLCS associates used a gun supplied by Tovar to shoot the victim, who was then stabbed.

The victim survived the assault and the gang members fled in Cruz Moreno’s car. About a month later, Fairfax County Police officers found Cruz Moreno with the gun used to shoot the second victim, as well as several grams of cocaine that he had gotten from Tovar to sell.

In July 2019, another co-defendant, a 21-year-old chequeo named Marvin Torres identified a rival gang member living in GLCS territory and sent a picture of them to Tovar. In August, a “paro” or entry-level GLCS member named Jose Rosales Juarez, also known as “Gears,” discussed plans to kill the supposed rival gang member with Tovar.

About a week later, a 21-year-old “observacion” or lower-level soldier named Kevin Perez Sandoval, also known as “Nocturno” and two other GLCS members or associates saw the target at a laundromat in the Manassas area and asked for permission from Tovar to kill them.

Tovar granted permission and Perez Sandoval drove the group to get a gun, and back to the laundromat, where they shot the target twice before leaving. As they were driving away from the area, Tovar helped them get away from police by relaying information from Torres, who was back at the laundromat watching the responding officers.

Tovar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering activity, attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity, assault with a deadly weapon in aid of racketeering activity and using and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, all in relation to the murder of the third victim. He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana.