17 MS-13 gang members charged in violent Long Island spree of killings, assaults

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BRENTWOOD, NY — Nearly 20 alleged members of the MS-13 gang were charged Wednesday in the deaths of four young men in a Long Island park as well as eight other murders.

The mass indictment against 17 gang members includes charges of racketeering, 12 murders, attempted murders, assaults, obstruction of justice, arson, conspiracy to distribute marijuana and related firearms and conspiracy charges.

"Every New Yorker deserves to feel safe in their own neighborhood and we refuse to be intimidated by MS-13, or any other criminal element that threatens our communities," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "But make no mistake, much work remains and we will not rest until this epidemic is stamped out once and for all."

Three of the men who were indicted — Alexis Hernandez, 20; Santos Leonel Ortiz-Flores, 19; and Omar Antonio Villalta, 22 — were charged with the April murders of four young men near a park.

The men allegedly had two female associates of MS-13 gang lure a group of five men to a park, prosecutors said. MS-13 believed the victims were members of a rival gangs.

They "met in a heavily wooded area behind the park where they discussed the plan to kill the victims, distributed weapons and waited for word from the females that they had arrived."

The MS-13 members allegedly killed four of the group using machetes, knives and wooden clubs. One person escaped. The gang members then dragged the victims’ bodies to a more secluded spot and fled the scene.

Hernandez, Santos and Villalta were charged with the murders of Justin Llivicura, Michael Lopez, Jorge Tigre and Jefferson Villalobos.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Long Island after the April murders.

“As I said when I visited Long Island after these murders took place in April, MS-13’s motto may be ‘kill, rape and control’, but the Department of Justice’s motto is justice for victims and consequences for criminals," Sessions said. "We are committed to bringing violent criminals to justice, and this indictment is the next step in our mission of finding, prosecuting, and eradicating the MS-13 threat.”

The men charged range in age from 18-30:

  • Edwin Amaya-Sanchez, 30
  • William Castellanos, 20
  • Jhonny Contreras, 23
  • Reynaldo Lopez-Alvarado, 25
  • Elmer Alexander Lopez, 19
  • Selvin Chavez, 20
  • German Cruz, 19
  • Enrique Portillo, 20
  • Alexi Saenz, 22
  • Jairo Saenz, 20
  • Mario Aguilar-Lopez, 18
  • Jeffrey Amador, 21
  • Ronald Catalan, 26
  • Alexis Hernandez, 20
  • Santos Leonel Ortiz-Flores, 19
  • Jose Suarez, 23
  • Omar Antonio Villalta, 22
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