Today, in federal court in Central Islip, a 29-count superseding indictment was unsealed charging eight members and associates of the violent transnational criminal organization La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the “MS-13,” with multiple racketeering offenses, including predicate racketeering acts involving murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and related narcotics and firearms offenses. The defendants will be arraigned on a later date before United States District Judge Joan M. Azrack.
Two of the defendants, Kevin Torres, also known as “Inquieto” and “Quieto” (Torres), and Oseas Gonzalez, also known as “Manota” and “Cordero” (Gonzalez), have now been charged with the September 5, 2016 murder of Marcus Bohannon, in Central Islip. Racketeering charges and related offenses were also added against Gonzalez and Victor Lopez-Morales, also known as “Persa” (Lopez-Morales), in connection with the October 14, 2016 murder of Carlos Ventura-Zelaya; and against David Sosa-Guevara, also known as “Risky” (Sosa-Guevara), in connection with a May 23, 2020 assault against a rival gang member at the Nassau County Correctional Facility. Finally, the superseding indictment charges an additional defendant, Kevin Cuevas Del Cid, also known as “Creeper,” “Malcriado,” “Sombra,” “Vinky” and “Dabura” (Del Cid), in connection with his participation in the May 21, 2016 murder of Kerin Pineda, and the October 10, 2016 murder of Javier Castillo.
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), Rodney K. Harrison, Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), and Patrick Ryder, Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD), announced the superseding indictment.
“The superseding indictment demonstrates the resolve of this Office and the Long Island Gang Task Force to bring to justice the MS-13 gang members responsible for each and every one of the appalling and senseless murders they have committed in our communities on Long Island and elsewhere,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “It is my hope that these latest charges bring some consolation to the families of the victims.”
“We are making a positive impact in the communities once terrorized by these MS-13 members, but we are seeing signs the gang is attempting to rebuild. Along with our law enforcement partners on our Long Island Gang Task Force, we remain determined to prevent that from happening, but we cannot do it alone. We need the public to remain vigilant and contact us with any information they have to prevent another rash of MS-13 murders,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.
“These MS-13 members are calculated, manipulative and have no regard for human life,” stated SCPD Commissioner Harrison. “I commend the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Long Island Gang Task Force for their relentless pursuit to hold these individuals accountable. The unsealing of this indictment sends a clear message to gang members who think they are enhancing their gang’s reputation by committing heinous crimes—you will be held accountable.”
“These eight new indictments for murder of individuals connected to MS-13 is another clear example of how the Long Island Gang Task Force continues to bring these criminals to justice. The dedicated investigators that comprise the task force from multiple law enforcement agencies are the most experienced and professional in their departments. I would like to thank them for their continued diligence by keeping all of our communities safe,” stated NCPD Commissioner Ryder.
As detailed in the superseding indictment, as well as in court filings, Torres and Gonzalez have been charged in connection with the murder of Bohannon, who was shot and killed shortly after midnight on September 5, 2016. Prior to the murder, on the evening of September 4, 2016, members of the Sailors Locos Salvatruchas Westside (Sailors) clique and Hollywood Locos Salvatruchas (Hollywood) clique of the MS-13 met at a house in Central Islip. Torres, who was the leader of the Sailors clique for all of New York, told the other gang members who were gathered at the house, including Gonzalez, a member of the Hollywood clique, that they would be going out that night hunting for rival gang members to kill. The MS-13 members separated into several cars and drove around Central Islip and Brentwood looking for people they could target as rivals. While Gonzalez and his fellow MS-13 members were driving through Central Islip, they observed Bohannon walking along Lowell Avenue. Suspecting that the victim was a member of the rival Bloods gang, Gonzalez and another MS-13 member, both armed with handguns, got out of the vehicle, approached the victim and started shooting. After shooting the victim numerous times, Gonzalez handed his gun to the other MS-13 member who fired several more shots into the victim after his own gun had jammed. Bohannon died from his wounds.
The superseding indictment also adds charges against Gonzalez and Lopez-Morales in connection with the October 14, 2016 murder of Carlos Ventura-Zelaya, in Roosevelt. Ventura-Zelaya had been marked for death by the MS-13 because of his suspected membership in the rival 18th Street gang. On the day of the murder, Gonzalez observed the victim at a deli in Roosevelt and alerted other members of the Hollywood clique. Gonzalez then picked up several fellow gang members, including Carlos Alfaro, also known as “Russo” (Alfaro), to assist in the murder. The group next drove to the home of Lopez-Morales, who gave them a handgun. After obtaining the weapon, Gonzalez drove the group back in the direction of the deli to look for and kill the victim. Once they spotted Ventura-Zelaya walking on Hudson Street in Roosevelt, Alfaro, who was armed with the gun, and another MS-13 member got out of the car, approached him and Alfaro fired multiple times, striking and killing the victim.
Pineda and Castillo murders
Del Cid is charged in this superseding indictment with the May 21, 2016 murder of Kerin Pineda, the October 10, 2016 murder of Javier Castillo, and conspiring to distribute cocaine and marijuana. Del Cid, who was 16-years’ old at the time of these murders, was initially charged as a juvenile in a sealed proceeding before being transferred to adult status by order of the Court following a juvenile transfer hearing before the United States Circuit Judge Joseph F. Bianco sitting by designation.
Members of the Sailors and Hollywood cliques murdered Pineda after suspecting him to be a member of the 18th Street gang. On the day of the murder, Del Cid, who was a member of the Sailors clique and seeking promotion in the gang, helped to lure Pineda to a secluded wooded area near the Merrick-Freeport border where he and other MS-13 members were lying in wait armed with machetes. When the victim arrived, Del Cid, and other MS-13 members, including Ever Morales-Lopez, also known as “Kyen,” “Lenky” and “Inke,” Jose Jonathan Guevara-Castro, also known as “Suspechoso,” and Gonzalez surrounded and attacked Pineda, stabbing, slashing and hacking him to death with machetes. While this was taking place, Torres and Sosa-Guevara, the leaders of the Sailors and Hollywood cliques, respectively, were driving around the area in two separate cars looking out for any police presence. Lopez-Morales was in the car with Sosa-Guevara. After Pineda was killed the MS-13 members buried him in a hole that had been dug the day before. Pineda’s remains were recovered more than a year later.
Castillo was also killed based on his suspected membership in the 18th Street gang. Del Cid, Torres and more than a half dozen other members of the Sailors clique participated in the Castillo murder. On the night of October 10, 2016, the MS-13 members lured Castillo to Cow Meadow Park in Freeport. They brought him to an isolated marsh area along the water where he was viciously attacked with machetes. After killing Castillo, the MS-13 members dug a hole and buried the body, which was not recovered until one year later. Many of the participants in the Castillo murder were previously charged in a separate case, two of whom have pleaded guilty.
Additional Charged Crimes
Finally, the superseding indictment charges Sosa-Guevara with assaulting a rival gang member while in prison. On May 23, 2020, Sosa-Guevara and several other MS-13 members got into an altercation with an inmate who was a member of the Bloods street gang. Sosa-Guevara and the other MS-13 members armed themselves with sharpened metal objects and attacked the victim beating and stabbing him repeatedly until corrections officers intervened and stopped the assault. The victim sustained multiple lacerations and stab wounds, and later recovered from his injuries.
In the underlying indictment, Torres was charged with the 2016 murder of 19-year-old Oscar Acosta in Brentwood; Lopez-Morales and Gonzalez were charged with the 2016 murder of 19-year-old Josue Amaya-Leonor in the Roosevelt Preserve; and Lopez-Morales and Sosa-Guevara were charged with the 2017 murder of 15-year-old Angel Soler in Roosevelt.
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This superseding indictment 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 and Megan E. Farrell are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Assistant District Attorney Jared Rosenblatt of the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.
KEVIN CUEVAS DEL CID (also known as “Creeper,” “Malcriado,” “Sombra,” “Vinky” and “Dabura”)
Freeport, New York
Previously Indicted Defendants Facing Additional Charges:
OSEAS GONZALEZ (also known as “Manota” and “Cordero”)
Charlotte, North Carolina
VICTOR LOPEZ-MORALES (also known as “Persa”)
Roosevelt, New York
DAVID SOSA-GUEVARA (also known as “Risky”)
Roosevelt, New York
KEVIN TORRES (also known as “Inquieto” and “Quieto”)
Freeport, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No.: 20-CR-251 (JMA)