News and Press Releases

MS-13 Gang Leader to Be Arraigned on Murder Charges

April 29, 2011

Hector Aleman Lemos, the leader of the Flushing, Queens, chapter of the violent international street gang La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as “MS-13,” will be arraigned later today before United States Magistrate Judge Joan M. Azrack at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on a superseding indictment charging him with the September 2007 murder of 25-year-old John Halley in Yonkers, New York.1 If convicted, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York Field Office; and Edmund Hartnett, Commissioner, City of Yonkers Police Department.

As detailed in the superseding indictment and other court filings submitted by the government, in the early morning hours of September 29, 2007, the defendant and several other MS-13 gang members allegedly drove through the streets of Yonkers armed with a handgun and looking to commit a drive-by shooting. At approximately 12:10 A.M., they saw three young men, one of whom was John Halley, standing on a street corner. Believing the men to be members of a rival street gang, Lemos jumped from the vehicle, approached the three men, and shot Halley twice. Halley died at the scene.

This superseding indictment is the latest in a series of indictments by this Office charging members of MS-13, a gang comprised primarily of immigrants from El Salvador. With hundreds of members locally, MS-13 has a strong presence in Queens and is the largest street gang on Long Island. Over the past decade, more than 120 MS-13 soldiers and leaders have been convicted in this district of violent federal crimes, including racketeering, assault, and murder.

“As alleged, MS-13 is an exceptionally violent organization, whose members will not hesitate to commit murder in furtherance of the gang’s criminal objectives,” said United States Attorney Lynch. “We will spare no effort to disrupt and dismantle this gang and to bring the perpetrators of gang violence to justice.”

“As the court documents allege, the defendant set out with the sole purpose of committing a violent crime. While his actions illustrate how senseless gang activity is, it underscores why law enforcement works together to restore our communities and beat back this type of vicious activity,”said ICE HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Hayes.

“This indictment and the continuing collaboration between federal and local law enforcement sends a strong message to violent street gangs like MS-13. This type of wanton violence will not be tolerated. Gratitude is extended to our colleagues at the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, New York Office of Homeland Security Investigations,” stated Yonkers Police Commissioner Hartnett.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ali Kazemi and Jason A. Jones.

The Defendant:

HECTOR ALEMAN LEMOS, also known as “Diablito”
Age: 31




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

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