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MS-13 Gang Leader Who Ordered Killing Of Man Walking Home From Work In Hempstead Sentenced

The leader of an MS-13 clique on Long Island will spend decades in prison for ordering the killing of a man shot while walking home from work in Hempstead.
The leader of an MS-13 clique on Long Island will spend decades in prison for ordering the killing of a man shot while walking home from work in Hempstead. Photo Credit: Canva/DNY59

The leader of an MS-13 clique on Long Island will spend decades in prison for ordering the killing of a man shot while walking home from work in Hempstead.

Ramon Martines, age 39, of Hempstead, was sentenced to 25 years behind bars Monday, Oct. 17, in Nassau County Court, more than a month after he pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and second-degree conspiracy in the March 2017 killing of Nelson Rodriguez.

Martines, also known as Cruzito, is the former leader of the Hempstead Locos Salvatrucha clique of MS-13, according to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said on March 20, 2017, he and others drove from Uniondale to Hempstead looking for a member of the rival 14th Street gang to shoot and kill in retaliation for an assault on an MS-13 member.

After circling the area several times, the group eventually spotted the 39-year-old Rodriguez, of Hempstead, who was walking westbound on Front Street after working at an auto body shop, prosecutors said.

Despite not being a member of the 14th Street Gang, another defendant in the case, Pedro Rivera, was ordered to shoot and kill Rodriguez because he was a “perceived enemy” of MS-13, according to prosecutors.

Investigators determined that after exiting a vehicle, Rivera walked past Rodriguez before turning around and shooting him once in the head. After Rodriguez fell to the ground, Rivera shot him again in the back.

Rodriguez was later pronounced dead at Nassau County University Medical Center.

“As the leader of a local MS-13 clique in Hempstead, this defendant exercised his control by sanctioning the senseless murder of a 39-year-old man as he left work because the defendant perceived him to be an enemy and member of a rival gang,” Nassau County DA Anne Donnelly said.

“Tragically, that was not the case, and the man was shot several times and killed. We continue to aggressively pursue cases against MS-13 members and their leaders, remove these dangerous actors from our streets, and keep our communities safe.”

Co-defendants Rivera and Carlos Flores were convicted at trial for their roles in the killing and sentenced to 50 years to life in prison in October 2019.

A third co-defendant, Hector Lazo, is still awaiting sentencing.

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