Leader of White Supremacist Group Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Make Death Threats Against Journalist
Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, Lidia DelCarmen-Rodriguez, an associate of the Leeward Locos Salvatruchas clique of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13, a transnational criminal organization, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the use of a firearm, which caused the death of 15-year-old Jasson Medrano-Molina, on August 7, 2019 in Central Islip. The proceeding was held before United States Circuit Judge Joseph F. Bianco.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Rodney K. Harrison, Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), announced the guilty plea.
“The defendant today admitted that she helped carry out a despicable crime by luring a 15-year-old boy to his violent death as part of the MS-13 gang’s agenda to attack and kill their rivals,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “It is my sincere hope that the family of this young victim can find some solace in knowing that the individuals responsible for this crime have been brought to justice. This Office, in partnership with the Long Island Gang Task Force, will continue to work tirelessly to prevent these senseless killings and eliminate gang violence that endangers our communities.”
“The senseless violence that MS-13 carries out is incomprehensible and we will continue to dedicate resources to and work with our law enforcement partners to hold these gang members accountable,” stated SCPD Commissioner Harrison. “This attack had the potential to take even more lives and we must send a message to this criminal organization, that no matter your age, if you act like an adult, you will pay the price as one.”
Mr. Peace thanked the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office for its assistance with the prosecution.
According to court filings and statements by the defendant at the guilty plea proceeding, in July and August 2019, the defendant and other MS-13 members and associates were seeking to identify, attack and kill individuals whom they believed were rival gang members in an effort to elevate their own positions in the gang. The defendant and her co-conspirators targeted several individuals, including Medrano-Molina, who were suspected of being members of the rival 18th Street gang. In the early morning hours of August 7, 2019, she lured Medrano-Molina and two other individuals to a secluded wooded area in Central Islip, where two of her co-conspirators, who were armed with a .40 caliber handgun and a baseball bat, were waiting. Upon realizing the ambush, Medrano-Molina and the other two individuals ran away. Medrano-Molina was pursued, and fatally shot multiple times at close range. The other two individuals were able to escape unharmed.
DelCarmen-Rodriguez is now 19 years old, and was 16 years old at the time of the Medrano-Molina murder. She was initially charged by complaint on August 21, 2019, and, thereafter, a juvenile information on September 20, 2019, both of which were both filed under seal in the Eastern District of New York. A juvenile transfer hearing was held on December 14, 2021, and she was ultimately transferred to adult status by order of the Court, dated January 26, 2022. In connection with her plea today, the defendant waived indictment and a Superseding Information, charging her as an adult, was filed publicly.
In October 2021, co-conspirator Jose Omar Sorto Portillo, also a member of the Leeward Locos Salvatruchas clique of MS-13, pleaded guilty to murder in aid of racketeering for his participation in the murder of Medrano-Molina. He is currently awaiting sentencing.
Today’s conviction is the latest in a series of federal prosecutions by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York targeting members and associates of the MS-13, a violent, transnational criminal organization. The MS-13’s leadership is based in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, but the gang has thousands of members across the United States. With numerous branches, or “cliques,” the MS-13 is the most violent criminal organization on Long Island. Since 2003, hundreds of MS-13 members, including dozens of clique leaders, have been convicted on federal felony charges in the Eastern District of New York. A majority of those MS-13 members have been convicted on federal racketeering charges for participating in murders, attempted murders, and assaults. Since 2010, this Office has obtained indictments charging MS-13 members and associates with carrying out more than 60 murders in the district, and has convicted dozens of MS-13 leaders, members, and associates in connection with those murders. These prosecutions are the product of investigations led by the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force, which is comprised of agents and officers of the FBI, SCPD, Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, Suffolk County Probation Office, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Hempstead Police Department, Rockville Centre Police Department, and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Paul G. Scotti, Justina L. Geraci, Megan E. Farrell, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen Kearon are in charge of the prosecution.
Central Islip, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-431 (S-1)(JFB)
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney’s Office