Gang Leader Charged With Miller Place Murder

Byron Lopez
Bryon “Viruz” Lopez posing with a machete in a Facebook photo provided by prosecutors.

A reputed leader of a Queens chapter of the street gang MS-13 has been indicted on charges of ordering his members to kill a 19-year-old man on Long Island earlier this year.

Byron “Viruz” Lopez was arrested Thursday and arraigned at Brooklyn federal court on charges of conspiracy to commit murder in-aid-of racketeering, murder in-aid-of racketeering, obstruction-of-justice murder and firearms offenses.

“This prosecution…is part of our ongoing mission to dismantle MS-13 wherever and whenever it rears its head,” said Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Prosecutors said the 23-year-old leader of the Jamaica chapter of the gang also known as La Mara Salvatrucha planned to have fellow gang member Sidney “Zombie” Valverde killed on Feb. 25 because they believed that he was informing on the gang to police.

The victim was lured to LI under the false pretense that they needed him to assist in gang business there, authorities said. Instead, the gang members shot him in the back of the head and left his body on Miller Place Beach, where it was discovered by a beachcomber two weeks later, according to investigators.

Lopez faces a possible sentence of up to life in prison, if convicted.