An alleged MS-13 street gang member on Long Island admitted to his role in luring a teenager to his violent death and distributing drugs, federal authorities announced.
Eduardo Portillo, also known as “Firuli” and “Tito,” a fugitive from justice who formerly lived in Brentwood and Central Islip, was arrested in El Salvador in February 2019 and has been detained before being extradited back to New York in November last year, according to Acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Jacquelyn Kasulis.
This week, Portillo pleaded guilty to racketeering charges relating to his participation in the murder of 15-year-old Javier Castillo, and to conspiring to distribute cocaine and marijuana.
Portillo was among a group of MS-13 members who murdered Castillo in 2016, who they believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street gang on Long Island, prosecutors said.
On Oct. 10, 2016, Portillo and other Brentwood-based members of the Sailors Locos Salvatruchas Westside (Sailors) clique of MS-13 convinced Castillo, who lived in Central Islip, to go with them to Freeport to smoke marijuana, according to Kasulis.
Kasulis said that Castillo was lured to an isolated marsh area along the water in Cow Meadow Park, where they attacked and killed him, taking turns hacking him with a machete. Afterward, the MS-13 members dug a hole and buried Castillo’s body, which wasn’t recovered until a year later.
Portillo also pleaded guilty to participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy, admitting that between April 2016 and March 2017, officials noted, he and other members of the Sailors clique conspired to distribute cocaine and marijuana in the Brentwood area to raise money for the MS-13 and fund its operations.
“Eduardo Portillo violently participated in taking the life of another teen as well as fed the drug epidemic plaguing our community,” acting Suffolk County Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron said in a statement. “This guilty plea is another step in the fight against gang violence and drug addiction in our county.
“Members of the department will continue to work with the Eastern District of New York and our law enforcement partners to put violent criminals behind bars and bring justice to the victims and their families.”
Kasulis said that Portillo was arrested in Morazán, El Salvador on Feb. 23, 2019, and extradited to the United States on Nov. 6, 2020.
“With today’s guilty plea, the defendant, an MS-13 gang member, admits to an utterly depraved and heinous crime, of taking turns with a machete to hack a teenage boy to death, simply because he believed the boy belonged to a rival gang,” Kasulis said.
“This Office and its law enforcement partners in New York and El Salvador are committed to stopping the violence of MS-13 gang members and bringing an end to their reign of brutality and murder in this district.”
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