CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) — A member of the MS-13 street gang pleaded guilty on Monday to participating in the brutal massacre of four young men on New York’s Long Island.
Josue Portillo, 17, pleaded guilty in federal court to racketeering charges, according to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Portillo admitted to planning the April 2017 killings with other MS-13 defendants because he said they believed the four were rival gang members, prosecutors said. The victims were lured to a park and attacked with machetes, knives and clubs.
“The Eastern District, together with our partners on the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force, will never tire nor relent in our efforts to dismantle MS-13 and bring to justice their members who have no respect for human life,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement.
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The violence, including the 2016 slayings of two teenage girls in Brentwood, led to congressional hearings and visits to Long Island from both President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
MS-13, or La Mara Salvatrucha, recruits young teenagers from El Salvador and Honduras, though many gang members were born in the U.S. The gang has been blamed for at least 25 killings since January 2016 across a wide swath of Long Island. And many other people have been reported missing.
Prosecutors said Portillo entered the country illegally from El Salvador. He faces up to life in prison when he’s sentenced on Jan. 10.