MS-13 Gang Leader Sentenced to Life in Prison for Racketeering Charges Including the Murder of 16-Year-Old Victim in Alley Pond Park in Queens
A superseding indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn against Walter Fernando Alfaro Pineda, also known as “Clever,” a Houston-based national leader of the 18th Street gang. The superseding indictment, which was unsealed as to 11 co-defendants in March 2020, charges Alfaro with racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit murder and murder in-aid-of racketeering for criminal activity between September 2016 and February 2018. Alfaro was arrested today by federal agents in Houston, Texas, and the government will seek his removal to the Eastern District of New York.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the arrest and charges.
“Today’s arrest of a national leader of the 18th Street gang is a milestone in the Department’s effort to dismantle this vicious organization and hold its members responsible for their crimes of violence,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “We will continue working tirelessly until all gangs are eradicated in our communities so that the public can move about freely under the rule of law and without fear of harm from transnational organized crime elements.”
As alleged in the superseding indictment and detailed in other court filings, Alfaro allegedly authorized the murder of Jonathan Figueroa in October 2017. Alfaro’s order to New York-based 18th Street members set a series of events into action to effectuate the brutal murder of Figueroa, who was suspected of cooperating with law enforcement. On the night of October 24, 2017, Figueroa was lured by another 18th Street member to travel with him by bus from New York City to Kingston, New York. When they arrived in Kingston, the victim met other 18th Street members and hiked into Turkey Point State Forest, a 140-acre wooded park and swamp bordering the western bank of the Hudson River in Ulster County, New York. There, Figueroa was stabbed more than 100 times. After the murder, 18th Street members buried the victim in a make-shift grave in the forest. One gang member recorded the killing to disseminate among other 18th Street members as a warning to those who considered disrespecting the gang.
Alfaro is also charged, along with 11 co-defendants, with racketeering conspiracy for his participation in a pattern of criminal activity, including murders, attempted murders, fraudulent identification production, and extortion.
The charges in the superseding indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
If convicted, Alfaro faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment and is eligible for the death penalty.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan P. Lax and Erin Reid of the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section.
WALTER FERNANDO ALFARO PINEDA (also known as “Clever”)
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-139 (S-5) (LDH)
United States Attorney’s Office