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MS-13 Members Charged in Three Murders, Attempted Murder in Queens: Feds

Marlon Saracay-Lopez displaying an MS-13 tattoo; Ismael Santos-Novoa displaying an MS-13 gang sign with a firearm in his waistband; Juan Amaya-Ramirez displaying a firearm and a machete; Tito Martinez-Alvarenga displaying an MS-13 gang sign; Juan Amaya-Ramirez displaying an MS-13 gang sign; Photos courtesy of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York

May 14, 2020 By Christian Murray

Ten MS-13 members have been charged with a slew of violent crimes ranging from murder to firearms offences, according to federal investigators.

The men, nine from Queens and one from California, are allegedly responsible for three murders that took place in the borough, an attempted murder, fire arms offences and a federal racketeering charge. The complaints were unsealed today in Brooklyn federal court.

“The murders and crimes of violence allegedly committed by these defendants are trademark MS-13 offenses—cold-blooded, senseless and brutally violent—and pose a grave danger to the residents of our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue in a statement.

The first murder took place in Kissena Park on April 23, 2018 when Juan Amaya-Ramirez allegedly killed 17-year-old Andy Peralta after he mistakenly believed the victim was a member of the Latin Kings gang. Amaya-Ramirez, along with two other MS-13 members, allegedly beat, stabbed and strangled Peralta to death.

The men then took a photograph of Peralta’s corpse while displaying MS-13 gang signs in the photo. The defendants thought Peralta was a member of the Latin Kings since he had a tattoo on his chest that resembled that gang’s insignia.

The second murder took place on Nov. 4, 2018 when MS-13 associates Douglas Melgar-Suriano and Jairo Martinez-Garcia allegedly shot Victor Alvarenga near his home in Flushing. The men followed Alvarenga who was walking down the street and shot him multiple times in the head and body, authorities said.

The third killing occurred on Feb. 3, 2019 when Ramiro Gutierrez and gang associates Tito Martinez-Alvarenga and Victor Lopez allegedly murdered Abel Mosso on the 90th Street subway platform in Jackson Heights.

The defendants, according to the charges, believed Mosso was a member of the rival 18th Street gang. They followed the victim onto the 7 train at the Main Street station in Flushing, before assaulting him on the train and dragging him onto the 90th Street platform.

Gutierrez, after a tussle on the platform, shot Mosso multiple times, killing him. Authorities say the defendant yelled to horrified onlookers: “Nobody get involved, we’re MS-13, we’re going to kill him.”

A video of the incident was posted to Facebook at the time. It went viral.

Prosecutors have also charged three other men—also believed to be part of MS-13—for attempting to shoot a member of the 18th Street gang on Aug. 25, 2019 in Jackson Heights. Marlon Saracay-Lopez, Ismael Santos-Novoa and alleged gang associate Victor Ramirez were involved and they shot an innocent bystander in the leg in their botched murder attempt, authorities said.

Saracay-Lopez, Santos-Novoa and associate Emerson Martinez-Lara were also alleged to be involved in conspiring to kill a fellow MS-13 member who failed to kill a rival gang member as ordered.

If convicted of the murders, Amaya-Ramirez, Melgar-Suriano, Martinez-Garcia, Gutierrez, Martinez-Alvarenga and Lopez—all from Flushing– face mandatory sentences of life in prison with the possibility of the death penalty.

If convicted of the firearms and attempted murder charges, Saracay-Lopez of Compton, Calif.; Santos-Novoa from Flushing; and Ramirez from Elmhurst face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison. Martinez-Lara of College Point faces up to 15 years in prison for murder conspiracy.

“Public executions are just another sobering example of the savagery that MS-13 engages in with the alleged criminal mayhem caused by those charged today,” said Peter Fitzhugh, the agent in charge for Homeland Security.

“Law enforcement at all levels will continue to use all available resources, aggressively exploit all available intelligence and work as a unified team with a singular goal—ridding the scourge of MS-13 from our communities,” Fitzhugh added.

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