MS-13 Gang Member Pleads Guilty to April 2017 Quadruple Murder
After Committing Four Murders in a Central Islip Park, Defendant Fled to Virginia and Maryland Where He Continued His Association with the MS-13
Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York, Freiry Martinez, a member of the Herndon City Locos Salvatruchas clique of 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. The guilty plea was entered before United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco.
Richard P. Donoghue, 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), Geraldine Hart, Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), and Patrick J. Ryder, Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD), announced the guilty plea.
Martinez, who is now 17 years old and was 15 years and 11 months old at the time of the April 11 murders, initially was charged by a juvenile information that was filed under seal in the Eastern District of New York on July 10, 2017. Martinez fled from New York to Virginia and later to Maryland after the April 11 murders, and remained a fugitive until November 21, 2017, when he was arrested in Montgomery County, Maryland. Martinez, an illegal alien from El Salvador, subsequently was turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and removed to the Eastern District of New York in custody by the United States Marshals Service. Following the government’s application to transfer Martinez to adult status for prosecution, the motion was granted today by Judge Bianco.
“Prosecution by prosecution, defendant by defendant, we are dismantling the MS-13 through an effort that will not end until they are ended,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “The unwavering resolve of the Eastern District, the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force and all our law enforcement partners will bring justice for the victims and the perpetrators alike.” Mr. Donoghue extended his sincere appreciation to the United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, Montgomery County Police Department and Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office for assisting in this investigation.
“Most 15-year-olds are worried about a chemistry test at school or making the football team, not plotting a grotesque attack and murder of four other teenagers,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “Our work with our law enforcement partners on the FBI Long Island Gang Task Force is proof a combined and concentrated effort to combat the evil that is MS-13 will work to stop more senseless murders. We want to assure the community we won’t let up in our pursuit of rounding up these gang members and stopping them from terrorizing neighborhoods on Long Island.”
“This guilty plea is a result of the dedicated work and collaboration of the Suffolk County Police Department, the Long Island Gang Task Force and the Eastern District,” stated SCPD Commissioner Hart. “We applaud the effort of prosecutors to ensure that Martinez would be tried as an adult to face the stiffest penalties possible. The deaths of these four young men committed at the hands of MS-13 gang members is incomprehensible and we hope today’s plea will send a clear message to gang members that we will not waver or tire from our commitment to dismantle gangs in Suffolk County. It is our hope that holding these perpetrators accountable will bring some measure of comfort and healing to the victims’ friends and families.”
“Due to the exceptional work by all of the law enforcement investigators involved and their agencies, Defendant Freiry Martinez will not be able to terrorize our communities and residents any longer,” stated NCPD Commissioner Ryder. “We have four families that have lost loved ones to the hands of MS-13 in these brutal and senseless killings. Rest assured, we will continue to engage this violence with our zero tolerance approach and will continue to remove these offenders from our streets.”
According to court filings and statements by the defendant at the guilty plea proceeding, on the evening of April 11, 2017, two female associates of the MS-13 lured five young men, including the four victims, to a community park in Central Islip at the direction of Martinez and other MS-13 members. The MS-13 members believed the victims to be members of a rival gang who were disrespectful toward the MS-13. Martinez and several MS-13 members and associates met in a wooded area behind the park where they distributed weapons, discussed the plan to kill the victims and then awaited their arrival. Once the female MS-13 associates arrived at the park, they led the victims to a wooded area and sent the MS-13 members a text message describing their location. Pursuant to their previously devised plan, Martinez and the other MS-13 members and associates surrounded the victims and killed Llivicura, Lopez, Tigre and Villalobos using machetes, knives and wooden clubs. The fifth intended victim escaped. After the attack, Martinez and his associates dragged the victims’ bodies to a more secluded spot and fled. The victims’ bodies were discovered the following evening.
When sentenced, Martinez faces a maximum of life in prison. Upon completion of his sentence, he faces deportation from the United States.
Today’s conviction 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 international 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 largest and 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 this district. 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 45 murders in this district, 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, NCPD, Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, Suffolk County Probation, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, Rockville Centre Police Department, New York State Police and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
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, Michael T. Keilty and Raymond A. Tierney are in charge of the prosecution.
FREIRY MARTINEZ (also known as “Discreto,” “Sovietico” and “Freddy”)
Brentwood, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-364 (S-1)(JFB)