MS-13 Gang Member Admits Killing Teen Ex-girlfriend

Juan Garcia
Juan Garcia

The last of four reputed MS-13 gang members involved in the murder of a young mother and her 2-year-old son four years ago has admitted to his role in the double murder.

Juan “Cruzito” Garcia pleaded guilty Wednesday at Central Islip federal court to murdering his ex-girlfriend, 19-year-old Vanessa Argueta, on Feb. 4, 2010.

Prosecutors have said the 21-year-old had three fellow gang members join him in killing Argueta after the victim had rival gangs jump Garcia when their relationship ended.

The killers picked Argueta up from her home, told they wanted to take her out to dinner, and then lured her to a wooded area in Central Islip, where they fatally shot her and her son, Diego Torres, authorities have said.

Garcia was also the last of the four suspects to be apprehended. He nearly set a record for the shortest time spent on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list when he surrendered to authorities Nicaragua earlier this year.

Last week, 22-year-old Adalberto Ariel “Gringo” Guzman of Central Islip was sentenced to life in prison plus 35 years after being convicted of murder in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to commit murders in aid of racketeering and firearms offenses. Guzman, the first to be arrested, had been caught on wiretap joking about killing the toddler and stole the toddler’s Dora the Explorer ball.

Of the other two gang members involved, Heriberto “Boxer” Martinez was convicted and sentenced to life in prison plus 60 years and Rene Mendez “Zorro” Mejia pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Garcia faces up to life in prison.