United States Flag
Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security

Report Crimes: Email or Call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE

Transnational Gangs
04/22/2010

MS-13 gang member receives life sentence

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Luis Bonilla, aka Chofre, 23, the leader of a MS-13 street gang in Jamaica, N.Y. was sentenced to life imprisonment by U. S. District Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr., at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn today. The sentencing was announced by Benton J. Campbell, U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Bonilla plead guilty to racketeering and predicate acts of murder and attempted murder. He participated in the murder of 15 year old boy from Queens, N.Y. on Christmas Eve in 2006.

Court documents filed by the government indicate that Bonilla had engaged in a series of violent crimes, including conspiracy to murder and assault members of rival gangs, such as the Crips, the Bloods and the Latin Kings. At his guilty plea proceeding, Bonilla admitted to acting upon a request from another gang leader, he provided the murder weapon and instructed two MS-13 soldiers to locate and kill rival gang members.

On the morning of Christmas Eve 2006, Hector Portillo, aka Angel and a second gang member approached a group of youths suspected to be members of the rival Bloods street gang. Portillo shot Pashad Gray multiple times at close range, resulting in his death.

"Bonilla's life sentence again underscores the fact that ICE remains committed to bringing transnational gang members to justice - here in New York or wherever they threaten our citizens," said James T. Hayes, Jr. special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Investigations in New York which investigated the case. "The impact on public safety is undeniable."

"Today, another leader of MS-13 was brought to justice for committing senseless acts of violence," stated U. S. Attorney Campbell. "Gangs are on notice: we will continue to prosecute organized street crime to the fullest extent of the law." Mr. Campbell extended his grateful appreciation to ICE, the Queens County District Attorney's Office, the New York City Police Department, and the New York City Department of Probation for their assistance in this case.

MS-13 is the largest street gang on Long Island. Over the past five years, investigations by the U. S. Attorney's Office, ICE, FBI and NYPD have solved multiple murders on Long Island and New York City, resulting in felony convictions of over a dozen MS-13 leaders and 120 soldiers.

The government's case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Jason A. Jones, Ali Kazemi, and Marshall L. Miller.