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Transnational Gangs

MS-13 gang leaders sentenced to life in prison for racketeering and murder

Defendants killed young man in case of mistaken identity

NEW YORK — The leaders of two New York State chapters of the international MS-13 street gang were sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus ten years, for murder in aid of racketeering and other charges. The sentences are a result of a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD).

Oscar Fuentes, 30, also known as "Taz," was the leader of the New York State chapter of MS-13, also known as La Mara Salvatrucha, and Julio Chavez, 26, also known as "Flecha," was the leader of the Huntington, N.Y., chapter. Both were convicted for the May 2007 murder of 21-year-old Maurice Parker in Flushing, N.Y.

The evidence at trial established that in the early morning hours of May 18, 2007, the defendants and other MS-13 gang members drove through the streets of Flushing armed with a gun and looking to shoot rival gang members.

At approximately 12:30 a.m., they saw two young men, Maurice Parker and his friend, standing outside a store at 41-80 Bowne Street. Parker's friend was wearing a red sweatshirt, a color often worn by members of the rival "Bloods Street Gang." Chavez and a second gang member jumped from the vehicle driven by Fuentes, ran up to the two men, and Chavez shot Maurice Parker six times, including three shots to the head. Maurice Parker died at the scene.

Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, extended her grateful appreciation to HSI's New York Office, the Queens County District Attorney's Office, the NYPD and the New York City Department of Probation for their assistance in this case.

MS-13 is a violent international street gang comprised primarily of immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. With hundreds of members locally, MS-13 is the largest street gang on Long Island and has a presence in Queens, New York. Over the past decade, investigations by the U.S. attorney's Office, HSI, the FBI and the NYPD have solved multiple murders on Long Island and in New York City resulting in felony convictions of more than 120 MS-13 leaders and soldiers.

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