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
Earlier today, Alexis Hernandez, an associate of the Guanacos Li’l Cycos Salvatruchas (“Guanacos”) clique of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13, a transnational criminal organization, pleaded guilty in federal court in Central Islip to racketeering charges in connection with his participation in the April 11, 2017 murders of Justin Llivicura, Michael Lopez, Jorge Tigre, and Jefferson Villalobos. The defendant was arrested on July 13, 2017 at his home in Central Islip. When sentenced, Hernandez faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Upon completion of his sentence, he faces deportation from the United States. Today’s proceeding was held before United States District Judge Gary R. Brown.
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 Stuart Cameron, Acting Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), announced the guilty plea.
“With today’s guilty plea, the defendant acknowledges his role in the brutal and senseless murders of four young men he believed had disrespected the MS-13. I hope our efforts to bring these killers to justice provides some measure of comfort to the families of the victims, although no criminal case will replace their loved ones,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This Office and its law enforcement partners remain steadfast in their commitment to seek justice for the victims of this terrible crime and to end the MS-13’s destructive reign of premeditated violence in our communities.”
“This was one of the most gruesome murders in Suffolk County’s history,” stated SCPD Acting Commissioner Cameron said. “I commend the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and our law enforcement partners for ensuring Alexis Hernandez will be held accountable for his role in this brutal crime.”
According to court filings and statements by the defendant at the guilty plea proceeding, on the evening of April 11, 2017, two female associates of the MS-13 lured five young men, including the four victims, to a community park in Central Islip where they were attacked and killed. The MS-13 members and associates believed the victims to be members of a rival gang who had disrespected the MS-13. Hernandez and several other MS-13 members and associates met in a wooded area behind the park where weapons were distributed and the plan to kill the victims was discussed. The female associates arrived at the park, led the victims to a predetermined wooded area and sent the MS-13 members a text message notifying them of their arrival. Hernandez and the other MS-13 members and associates proceeded to the designated location and encircled the victims under the cover of darkness. One of the intended victims immediately fled and was able to escape. Llivicura, Lopez, Tigre and Villalobos were surrounded by Hernandez and others, who prevented their escape. Hernandez, who was armed with a wooden club, helped to lead the victims deeper into the woods where other MS-13 members brutally murdered them with machetes, knives and wooden clubs. After the attack, the MS-13 members dragged the victims’ bodies to a more secluded spot in the woods and then fled. The victims’ bodies were discovered the following evening.
More than a dozen MS-13 members and associates have been charged in connection with the April 11, 2017 murders.
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 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 with carrying out more than 60 murders in the Eastern District of New York, resulting in the convictions of dozens of MS-13 leaders and members 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, the New York State Police, the Hempstead Police Department, the Rockville Centre Police Department and the 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 and Megan E. Farrell are in charge of the prosecution.
Central Islip, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 16-CR-403 (GRB)
United States Attorney’s Office