Reputed MS-13 gang members were charged with killing three people, trying to kill several others, drug dealing and racketeering in a new indictment unsealed Thursday at Central Islip federal court, prosecutors said.
“Today’s indictment is our next step toward taking this despicable gang off the streets for good,” U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions said.
Prosecutors said the 73 charges stemmed from the fifth superseding indictment against the gang and added eight new defendants to the case, which includes 15 murders overall. It comes two weeks after President Trump visited Long Island to tout his administration’s crackdown on the gang.
Among the new defendants are 22-year-old Kevin “Quieto” Torres of Freeport, the leader of MS-13’s Sailor clique, who ordered Acosta’s murder. Another new defendant, 21-year-old Nelson “Mendigo” Argueta-Quintanilla, was accused of carrying out the murder by beating and slashing the victim to death on April 29, 2016. The victim’s skeletal remains were found later that fall.
Two more new defendants, 22-year-old Wilber Adalberto Fernandez-Vasquez of Roosevelt and 19-year-old Frank Alexander Ventura-Ramirez of Freeport, were charged with the Oct. 10, 2016 murder of Castillo. Days later, Ever “Grone” Flores, 22, of Roosevelt—also a new defendant in the case—was charged with the Oct. 13, 2016 murder of Stacks.
Several previously charged MS-13 members were implicated in all three killings. Authorities said the victims were all killed because the suspects believed they were members of rival gangs.
MS-13 members were also accused of slashing and shooting victims that survived various attacks in 2016 as a part of the latest charges, which also included marijuana and cocaine dealing offenses.
The announcement comes a week after Nassau County police found 19-year-old Josue Amaya Leonor dead in a wooded area of his hometown of Roosevelt. His death is reportedly suspected of having MS-13 ties.
That discovery came shortly after Nassau authorities charged 18-year-old Josue Figueroa-Velasquez of Freeport with second-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Angel Soler, who was also found dead last year in Roosevelt Preserve, the same woodlands where Leonor was found. Figueroa-Velasquez was the third reputed MS-13 member charged in that case.