Long Island MS-13 Gang Leader Sentenced to 30 Years’ Imprisonment for Racketeering Offenses Including 2016 Murder and Attempted Murder
Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, Carlos Argueta, also known as “Violento,” “Desorden” and “Dylan,” a former leader of the Freeport Locos Salvatruchas (Freeport) 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 30 years’ imprisonment for racketeering and firearms charges in connection with his participation in the June 3, 2016 murder of Jose Pena, an MS-13 member who was suspected of violating the gang’s rules, and the January 15, 2016 attempted murder of a suspected rival gang member outside of the Brentwood public library. Argueta pleaded guilty to the charges in July 2019.
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 sentence.
“Argueta, a violent leader in the MS-13, shot and wounded a so-called ‘rival’ in broad daylight outside of a public library, and then participated in the pre-planned brutal slashing and stabbing death of one of his alleged MS-13 accomplices in that shooting. Today’s lengthy sentence ensures that Argueta will no longer inflict senseless violence and bloodshed on our streets,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “I commend our prosecutors and the Long Island Gang Task Force for their steadfast commitment in bringing MS-13 members to justice and eliminating their violence from our communities.”
“Like so many members of MS-13, Carlos Argueta is without any moral compass and has shown zero regard for human life,” stated SCPD Commissioner Harrison. “It is up to law enforcement to send a message to this transnational gang that their violent and homicidal actions have no place in Suffolk County. I would like to thank Eastern District of New York and the Long Island Gang Task Force for their relentless pursuit to ensure individuals like Argueta are held accountable for their crimes.”
On the afternoon of January 15, 2016, Argueta, Pena and several other MS-13 members confronted three suspected rival gang members outside of a public library in Brentwood. Argueta removed a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun from his waistband and shot one of the men, identified as John Doe in the superseding indictment, in the torso. Argueta and the other MS-13 members then fled. The wounded victim received medical treatment and survived.
The Suffolk County police subsequently arrested Argueta, Pena and a third MS-13 member in connection with the attempted murder of John Doe, and they were released on bail. Argueta told other members of the Freeport clique that he suspected that Pena, a member of the Normandie clique of the MS-13, had cooperated with the SCPD. Additionally, members of the MS-13 suspected that Pena was homosexual, which is unacceptable under the rules of the MS-13.
After consulting with MS-13 leaders in El Salvador, Argueta and other MS-13 members agreed to kill Pena, and Argueta assigned tasks to other MS-13 gang members, including procuring weapons and a vehicle to be used in the murder. On June 3, 2016, Argueta and other MS-13 members lured Pena into a car and drove to a secluded area in Brentwood. After walking into the woods, the group attacked Pena, taking turns stabbing and slashing him with knives, and killing him. Pena’s body was found four months later.
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, 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, 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, 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 John J. Durham, Paul G. Scotti, Justina L. Geraci and Megan E. Farrell are in charge of the prosecution.
CARLOS ARGUETA (also known as “Violento,” “Desorden” and “Dylan”)
Brentwood, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 16-CR-510 (S-2) (JFB)