An MS-13 street gang member has been convicted gunning down a 2-year-old boy after his fellow gang members shot and killed the victim’s 19-year-old mother in Central Islip three years ago.
A federal jury found Adalberto “Gringo” Guzman guilty Monday at Central Islip court of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and firearms offenses in the Feb. 5, 2010 shooting deaths of Vanessa Argueta and her son, Diego Torres.
“Few other acts illustrate so clearly the heartless nature of this criminal enterprise known as MS-13,” said Attorney Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “Her crime in their eyes—showing ‘disrespect’ to their vicious gang. Her child’s—simply being with her when the defendant and his cronies decided that she could no longer live.”
The 21-year-old career criminal is the last of three gang members to be tried in the case. A jury convicted Heriberto “Boxer” Martinez in March and Rene “Zorro” Mejia pled guilty in June 2011.
Prosecutors said Guzman helped Martinez and Mejia lure Argueta from her home under the guise of taking her out to dinner after a feud in which she told rival gang members where to find the MS-13 members.
They reluctantly agreed to take Torres with them when she couldn’t find a babysitter, then brought her behind a Raymour & Flanigan furniture store in an industrial park near the corner of Connetquot Avenue and Windsor Place to smoke marijuana.
The gunmen shot Argueta in the head and chest and Torres in the head twice. A passerby found their bodies shortly later.
The trio fled to El Salvador afterward, but Guzman was apprehended at Miami International Airport when he tried to return to the country three months later.
Guzman is facing life in prison when he is sentenced in January before U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco.
Authorities noted that this case brought to more than 200 the number of federal convictions against MS-13 members on Long Island, half of which included federal racketeering charge convictions, since 2002.