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Press Release

MS-13 Gang Member Pleads Guilty to 2017 Quadruple Murder in Central Islip

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Defendant was Extradited from El Salvador to the Eastern District of New York

Today, in federal court in Central Islip, Edwin Rodriguez, also known as “Manicomio” (Rodriguez), a member of the violent transnational criminal organization La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the “MS-13,” pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in connection with his participation in the April 11, 2017 murders of Justin Llivicura, Michael Lopez, Jorge Tigre, and Jefferson Villalobos.  After committing the murders, Rodriguez was a fugitive from justice before he was arrested in El Salvador and extradited to the United States in 2022.  The guilty plea proceeding was held before United States Circuit Judge Joseph F. Bianco, sitting by designation.  When sentenced, Rodriguez faces up to life in prison.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Robert E. Waring, Acting Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), announced the guilty plea.

Mr. Peace expressed his appreciation to all the members of the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force and the FBI’s Legal Attaché in San Salvador for their outstanding collaboration in investigating, locating and apprehending this fugitive.  Mr. Peace also thanked the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) for their assistance in this case.

According to court filings and statements made during today’s guilty plea proceeding, Rodriguez was a member of the Normandie Locos Salvatruchas (Normandie) clique of the MS-13.  In order to maintain and increase his membership and status in the gang, in early 2017, he conspired with other MS-13 members and associates to orchestrate and execute the murders of perceived rival gang members who had disrespected the MS-13 in their social media postings.  On the evening of April 11, 2017, five young men, including the four murder victims, were lured to a wooded park in Central Islip by MS-13 associates, under the guise of smoking marijuana.  There, Rodriguez and nearly a dozen other MS-13 members and associates, armed with machetes, knives, an axe, and wooden clubs, surrounded the victims under the cover of darkness, and attacked them.  One of the intended victims was able to escape.  However, Llivicura, Lopez, Tigre and Villalobos were captured and then brutally hacked, stabbed and bludgeoned to death.  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.

Rodriguez, who was three months’ shy of his eighteenth birthday at the time of these murders, was originally charged in a sealed Juvenile Information filed on March 16, 2018.  He remained a fugitive from justice until August 28, 2019, when he was arrested in El Salvador, pursuant to an INTERPOL Red Notice.  The United States formally requested his extradition on September 3, 2019.  Rodriguez was detained pending his extradition to the United States, which was formally authorized by the Supreme Court of Justice of El Salvador on July 7, 2022.  He was extradited to the United States, and made his first appearance in-district on August 10, 2022.  In connection with his guilty plea today, Rodriguez also agreed to be transferred to adult status for purposes of prosecution. 

Today’s guilty plea is the latest achievement 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 70 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. 

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.   

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.  The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in securing the arrest and extradition of Rodriguez.

The Defendant:

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ (also known as “Manicomio”)
Age: 24
El Salvador; and formerly of Central Islip, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-135 (JFB)


John Marzulli
Danielle Blustein Hass
U.S. Attorney's Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated April 3, 2024

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