Long Island MS-13 Gang Leader Sentenced to 25 Years’ Imprisonment for Racketeering and Firearms Offenses
Ronald Catalan, Leader of the Brentwood Clique of the MS-13, Committed Three Attempted Murders and Conspired to Distribute Narcotics
Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, Ronald Catalan, a former leader of the Brentwood Locos Salvatruchas (BLS) clique of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13, a transnational criminal organization, was sentenced by United States Circuit Judge Joseph F. Bianco to 25 years’ imprisonment. The sentencing follows Catalan’s guilty plea to racketeering charges, including predicate acts relating to a June 23, 2009 shooting in Brentwood and an October 21, 2015 shooting in Bay Shore that collectively left three victims wounded. Catalan also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana as predicate racketeering acts, as well as illegally using firearms in connection with crimes of violence. Catalan, who was the leader of the BLS clique from 2015 until his federal arrest in July 2017, pleaded guilty in October 2018.
Mark J. Lesko, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., 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 sentence.
“Catalan will deservedly spend decades in prison for the violent and brutal acts he committed and directed others to carry out as a leader of the MS-13. His ruthless and retaliatory attacks on his so-called ‘rivals’ to enhance his own status in the MS-13 demonstrate his complete and callous disregard for human life,” stated Acting United States Attorney Lesko. “Working with our partners on the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force, this Office will continue its relentless pursuit of justice for the victims of the MS-13 and will not rest until the threat they present to the communities in our district is eliminated.”
“Thanks to the relentless efforts of the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force and Eastern District of New York, Catalan will be held accountable for his vicious crimes that nearly claimed three lives,” stated Acting SCPD Commissioner Cameron. “The SCPD will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to put an end to gangs in our communities and their senseless violence while continuing to seek justice for MS-13 victims.”
On June 23, 2009, Catalan and two other MS-13 members, all of whom were new members of the BLS clique, armed themselves with handguns and drove through Brentwood, hunting for rival gang members to attack and kill in order to increase their standing in the MS-13 gang. They observed a group of males on Barleau Street whom they believed to be members of the Bloods street gang. The MS-13 members got out of their car, approached the group and started firing. John Doe #1 was struck in the armpit and back as he tried to run. John Doe #1 underwent surgery and ultimately survived the attack.
In addition to shooting John Doe #1, Catalan admitted to participating in the October 21, 2015 attempted murders of two men that occurred on Bancroft Road in North Bay Shore. Catalan and other MS-13 members decided to retaliate against suspected members of the rival Latin Kings gang for the assault of an MS-13 member earlier that day. The MS-13 members, who were armed with two .38 caliber revolvers, drove around Brentwood and Bay Shore and observed a group of people they believed to be Latin Kings. Catalan directed two newer MS-13 members to carry out the shooting and gave them the .38 caliber revolvers. The MS-13 members fired multiple shots before running back to the car and fleeing the scene. Two victims were struck by gunfire, but survived their wounds. Catalan further admitted that, between January 2015 and February 2016, he and other members of the BLS clique conspired to distribute cocaine and marijuana to help finance the MS-13’s operations.
Today’s sentencing 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 and Honduras, but the gang has thousands of members across the United States, comprised primarily of immigrants from Central America. With numerous branches, or “cliques,” the MS-13 is the most violent street gang 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, and has convicted 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, comprising 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 John J. Durham, Paul G. Scotti, Justina L. Geraci and Megan Farrell are in charge of the prosecution.
RONALD CATALAN (also known as “Stranger” and “Extrano”)
Brentwood, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 16-CR-403 (S-6)(JFB)