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Federal Judge sentences three MS-13 gang members to over 20 years in prison for murder

February 26, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Federal Judge sentences three MS-13 gang members to over 20 years in prison for murder

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A New York federal court sentenced three MS-13 members to over 20 years each behind bars for their participation in the slaying of a fellow teen gang member. The gang members executed their fellow gang member because they believed that he cooperated with authorities.

According to a Justice Department press release, a Brooklyn federal judge sentenced Milton Contreras to 27 years in prison, while Welman Espinoza-Merino and Jose Osmin Rubio, each to 24 years behind bars, after they were convicted in the murder of Sidney Valverde, a 19-year-old MS-13 member.

A fourth gang member was also convicted and is awaiting sentencing. A fifth suspect has been charged but not yet convicted.

The co-conspirators lured Valverde to Long Island in February 2014, by informing him that they needed him to do work for MS-13.

The gang members meant to murder the teen because they thought he provided information about their activities to police. After the victim arrived in Long Island, one of the members shot him in the back of the head and abandoned his body on a beach in Suffolk County. A local passerby discovered the remains roughly two weeks later.

“Today’s sentence marks the final chapter in the pursuit of justice against three MS-13 members who brutally murdered a teenager execution-style when they suspected him of cooperating with law enforcement,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Richard Donoghue, announced in a statement. “This prosecution is part of the mission of this Office to protect residents of this district from the violence of MS-13, and we will not rest until the MS-13 organization is dismantled.”

The prosecution occurred through a continuing Homeland Security Investigations effort named Operation Community Shield. The enforcement operation resulted in the arrests of over 4,000 MS-13 members. Close to 3,000 civil immigration arrests of gang members also resulted from the operation.

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