News and Press Releases

MS-13 Gang Leader and Soldier to Be Arraigned on Murder Charges

March 19, 2009

Recent Prosecutions Result in Felony Convictions of More Than a Dozen Gang Leaders and 70 Gang Members – 9 Murders Solved

Oscar Fuentes, leader of the New York State chapters of the international MS-13 street gang, also known as “La Mara Salvatrucha,” and Julio Chavez, a soldier in the Huntington, New York, chapter of MS-13, will be arraigned later today before United States District Judge Sandra L. Townes at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on a superseding indictment charging them with the May 2007 murder of 21-year-old Maurice Parker in Flushing, New York. Fuentes is also charged with possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.1 If convicted, the defendants face maximum sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty if authorized by the Department of Justice.

The charges were announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Peter J. Smith, Special Agent-in-Charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), New York Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (“NYPD”).

As detailed in the superseding indictment and other court filings submitted by the government, in the early morning hours of May 18, 2007, the defendants and other MS-13 gang members drove through the streets of Flushing, New York, armed with firearms and looking to commit a drive-by shooting. At approximately half past midnight, they saw two young men, one of whom was Maurice Parker, standing outside a store at 41-80 Bowne Street. Chavez and a second gang member jumped from the vehicle, ran up to the two men, and Chavez shot Maurice Parker six times, including three shots to the head. Maurice Parker died at the scene.

MS-13 is a violent international street gang comprised primarily of immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. With hundreds of members locally, MS-13 is the largest street gang on Long Island and has a presence in Queens, New York. Over the past five years, investigations by the United States Attorney’s Office, ICE, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the NYPD have solved nine murders – five on Long Island and four in New York City – and resulted in felony convictions of more than a dozen MS-13 leaders and seventy MS-13 soldiers.

“MS-13 relishes violence and preys on our youth,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. “On a night when gang members decided to go hunting for a victim on the streets of Queens, Maurice Parker was murdered simply for standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. These gangs have no place in our communities, and we and our partners in law enforcement will not rest until they are eliminated.” Mr. Campbell thanked the Queens County District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Department of Probation for their assistance on the case.

“The indictment of these two gang members sends a clear message to MS-13 and other violent transnational street gangs that we will not allow gangs to paralyze our neighborhoods with fear, said Special Agent-in-Charge Smith, ICE Office of Investigations in New York. “ICE with its law enforcement partners will forge ahead with its Community Shield initiative to target, disrupt, and dismantle these violent gangs.”

NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “Murder is down again by 22% in New York City this year. The reason it and all other crimes declined is the dedicated men and women of the NYPD who make sure killers are captured and put behind bars. I also want to commend our federal partners, agents, and prosecutors alike, who helped bring the suspects in this case to justice.”

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jason A. Jones and Marshall L. Miller.

The Defendants:

Name: OSCAR FUENTES, also known as “Taz,”
Age: 28

Name: JULIO CHAVEZ, also known as “Flecha” and “Flechita”
Age: 23




1 The charges contained in the superseding indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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