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Press Release

MS-13 Gang Leader Pleads Guilty To Racketeering And Murder Conspiracy Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York

Hector Aleman Lemos, the former leader of the Flushing, Queens, chapter of the violent international gang La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as “MS-13,” pleaded guilty today to racketeering and murder conspiracy charges. Lemos entered his plea before United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. As part of his plea, Lemos agreed to a sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment.

The guilty plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York Field Office; and Charles Gardner, Commissioner, City of Yonkers Police Department.

According to the indictment and other court filings, Lemos, known in the gang as “Diablito,” was alleged to have been the leader of a chapter of the gang that committed a series of violent crimes, including murder, murder conspiracy and attempted murder, in Flushing, Queens and elsewhere. Among other crimes, Lemos was charged with murdering 25-year-old John Halley in Yonkers, New York. Lemos believed, incorrectly, that Halley was a member of a rival gang when he shot him on the street. As part of his plea, Lemos admitted that he was a member of MS-13 and that he participated in the murder of Halley, as well as the shooting of a 13-year-old boy who had been standing on the stoop of a house in Flushing, New York that Lemos believed to be a rival gang location.

This conviction is the latest of the more than 120 convictions of MS-13 soldiers and leaders in the Eastern District of New York over the past decade. MS-13 is a violent, transnational gang, based in El Salvador, which has engaged in narcotics trafficking, robbery, extortion, murder and other crimes in cities throughout the United States and Central America. The gang has had a strong presence in immigrant communities in Queens and Long Island.

“Lemos was the leader of a gang that turned our streets into a shooting gallery, and killed innocent bystanders in its bid to dominate the streets,” said United States Attorney Lynch. Lemos’s conviction underscores this Office’s ongoing commitment to eradicating MS-13’s influence in our communities and seeking justice for the gang’s victims and their families. We will continue to vigorously prosecute members of the gang and work to dismantle its operations in this District.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the City of Yonkers Police Department for its invaluable assistance in this investigation.

“The defendant in this case indiscriminately brought or threatened violence against rival gang members and innocent civilians alike. HSI is proud to continue to partner with the United States Attorney’s Office to target violent transnational gang members who threaten the safety of New York communities,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Hayes.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Gina M. Parlovecchio and Darren A. LaVerne.

The Defendant:

HECTOR ALEMAN LEMOS, also known as “Diablito”
Age: 32

Updated July 2, 2015