Six alleged MS-13 members - including several teens and minors - have been indicted on Long Island for their roles in a pair of homicides in Far Rockaway and Lawrence last year.
Yonathan “Turbo” Sanchez, 22, Carlos Guerra, 18, both of Far Rockaway, and Elmer “Revolver” Gutierrez, 19, of Valley Stream, are facing murder, conspiracy and weapons charges for their roles in an organized murder of 17-year-old Ian Cruz in Far Rockaway.
Three teenagers - two 15-year-old boys and a 13-year-old girl - were also indicted for their roles in the homicides. Each has been charged with second-degree murder and will be prosecuted in Youth Court.
The indictment alleges that on Dec. 15 last year, the 23-year-old Cruz, a perceived enemy of MS-13 - a gang on Long Island - was lured to Bayswater Point State Park in Far Rockaway with the promise of drugs and sex. He allegedly met with the 13-year-old girl, walked to the park, where Sanchez, Guerra and one of the teens hid with guns and knives.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said that Sanchez allegedly emerged from the bushes and shot Cruz four times in the head with a .22 caliber revolver. They then took his belongings and fled to a Nameoke Street apartment where Sanchez and Guerra lived.
According to the indictment, before the murder, the six allegedly planned Cruz’s murder and photographs of him allegedly disrespecting MS-13 were circulated amongst them. Cruz’s body was found in just his underwear on a blanket the next day by someone at the park.
Two days after Cruz’s murder, on Dec. 17, 17-year-old Far Rockaway resident Harold Sermeno was lured to the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence. He and the 13-year-old drank and smoked at a picnic table, at which point the five others emerged from “strategic areas of the park,” and shot him several times in the head and chest.
The indictment alleges that Gutierrez sliced his victim’s neck with a machete. The six then fled to the same apartment. Sermeno’s body was found the following morning by someone walking a dog in the area. Police officers recovered the machete that was allegedly used in the murder of Sermeno and a .22 caliber revolver that was allegedly used in both murders at the Nameoke Street apartment.
“These defendants allegedly targeted two young Far Rockaway men, lured them to local parks and ruthlessly murdered them due to perceived slights and to gain status in MS-13,” Singas said. “This case is particularly tragic because two families have lost their sons, and three juveniles are alleged to have participated in these murders. Due to extraordinary police work and collaboration, we were able to arrest these defendants and stop this murderous crime spree.”
Queens County District Attorney’s Office Chief ADA John M. Ryan added, “gangs do not respect human life. They don’t respect each other, and they certainly do not respect geographical boundaries and borderlines. We have two horrific incidents where young men were allegedly lured to their deaths by younger individuals and then pounced upon by reputed MS-13 gang members.
"The victims were viciously killed within days of each other and just miles apart. One homicide occurred in Queens County and the other in Nassau County. To seek justice for the 17-year-old and 23-year-old victims, we felt the two cases would be more effectively prosecuted in one county. The Queens homicide occurred just 500 yards from the border we share with Nassau County. Therefore, allowing our colleagues at the Nassau District Attorney’s Office to prosecute both cases, we believe will be the best way to achieve justice for the families of both victims.”
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