News and Press Releases

Member of MS-13, a Violent Long Island Street Gang, Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Murder

October 02, 2007

Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced that JOSUE OTONIEL RUBI-GONZALEZ, a member of the La Mara Salvatrucha (“MS-13”) street gang on Long Island, was sentenced today to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the June 30, 2003, murder of 22-year-old Jesus Valentin in Central Islip, New York. On October 31, 2006, following a two-week trial, a federal jury convicted RUBI-GONZALEZ on all counts relating to the murder of Valentin. The jury found that the MS-13 is a racketeering enterprise and that the murder was carried out in furtherance of the gang’s racketeering activities. The trial and sentencing proceeding were held before Senior United States District Judge Leonard D. Wexler.

The evidence at trial established that RUBI-GONZALEZ and two other MS-13 gang members met Valentin during a chance encounter and mistakenly concluded that Valentin was a member of the Latin Kings, a rival street gang, in part because he was wearing a yellow shirt, a color frequently worn by Latin Kings. They then lured Valentin into a wooded area off Lowell Avenue in Central Islip, 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.

“Eliminating gang violence in our communities is one of our highest priorities.” stated United States Attorney Mauskopf. “Today’s sentence sends a clear message: if you commit murder on behalf of a gang, be prepared to spend the rest of your life in prison.” 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 El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, many of whom are in the United States illegally. With several chapters, which members refer to as “cliques,” MS-13 is the largest street gang on Long Island. Over the past two years, more than 40 members of the MS-13, including nine clique leaders, have been convicted on federal felony charges in this district. Of the sentenced defendants, two have been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for murder, one defendant was sentenced to 63 years’ imprisonment for assault, one defendant was sentenced to 60 years’ imprisonment for assault, and eight defendants received sentences of 10 years or more. Six additional MS-13 defendants are awaiting sentencing on murder convictions.

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

The Defendant:

JOSUE OTONIEL RUBI-GONZALEZ, also known as “Bam Bam”

Age: 22




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