News and Press Releases

MS-13 Street Gang Member Convicted of Murder in Aid of Racketeering

October 31, 2006

Central Islip Man Slain Because He Was Believed To Be A Member Of A Rival Gang

Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced that following a two-week trial, a federal jury sitting in Central Islip, New York, returned a verdict convicting JOSUE OTONIEL RUBI-GONZALEZ, a member of the La Mara Salvatrucha ("MS-13") street gang, with conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering. The jury found that on June 30, 2003, the defendant murdered 22-year-old Jesus Valentin in Central Islip, New York, because he believed Valentin was a member of the rival Latin Kings street gang.

When sentenced by United States District Judge Leonard D. Wexler, the defendant faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.

"This conviction marks the latest success in a series of prosecutions to dismantle street gangs on Long Island and free our communities from the indiscriminate violence they unleash," stated United States Attorney Mauskopf. "Gang members who attempt to treat our communities as war zones will continue to face the full force of federal prosecution." Ms. Mauskopf praised the FBI's Long Island Gang Task Force and the Suffolk County Police Department for their assistance in the case.

The MS-13 is a violent international street gang, comprised primarily of immigrants from Central America, with hundreds of members on Long Island and thousands of members across the United States. The gang engages in a variety of violent criminal activities, including murder, assault, firearm offenses, robbery, and narcotics distribution.

The government's evidence at trial established that RUBI-GONZALEZ and two other MS-13 gang members met Valentin during a chance encounter in Central Islip on the afternoon of June 30, 2003. The defendant and his associates concluded that Valentin was a Latin King, in part because he was wearing a yellow shirt, a color frequently worn by the Latin Kings. They then lured Valentin into a wooded area off Lowell Avenue, and brutally beat him with a metal fire extinguisher and a piece of lumber before RUBI-GONZALEZ fatally stabbed the victim with a pocket knife. The defendant and his fellow gang members then hid the victim's body in a drain pipe, where it was not discovered until November 15, 2003.

The conviction announced today is the product of a coordinated initiative, code-named "Operation Streetsweeper," by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. On February 4, 2004, the government filed an indictment against RUBI-GONZALEZ and 29 other leaders and members of three violent gangs -- the MS-13, the Bloods, and Murder Unit -- alleging a total of five murders, a firebombing, multiple assaults, robbery, and drug distribution, many of which offenses grew out of gang wars that have raged in Nassau and Suffolk Counties during the past several years. Since then, more than 20 members of the MS-13 gang charged in "Operation Streetsweeper" have either pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial, and sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment.

The government's case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Richard P. Donoghue and James McGovern.

The Defendant:

JOSUE OTONIEL RUBI-GONZALEZ, also known as "Bam Bam" DOB: 4/22/85

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