NEW YORK - A superseding indictment handed up today charged Hector Portillo, a member of the international MS-13 street gang and seven others with multiple crimes, including 29 counts of murder, attempted murder, assault, racketeering, and illegal use of firearms. The charges were announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Peter J. Smith, special agent in charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office of investigations in New York City; Richard A. Brown, Queens Country District Attorney, and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.
The indictment alleges that on December 24, 2006 three of the defendants, Hector Portillo, Javier Irheta and Luis Bonilla, murdered 15 year-old Pashad Gray in Flushing.
Beginning in 1998, the defendants served as members and associates of MS-13, also known as "La Mara Salvatrucha," and engaged in a series of violent crimes in Jamaica and Flushing, New York, including conspiracy to murder and assault members of rival gangs, such as the Crips, the Bloods, and the Latin Kings. During one particularly violent 13 month period, the defendants allegedly assaulted or attempted to murder seven victims by stabbing and shooting.
Portillo, who was previously charged with racketeering and murder conspiracy, is now charged with a pattern of violent attacks, including, in addition to the Pashad Gray murder, the non-fatal shooting of a teenager on February 17, 2006, and the stabbing and beating of two teenagers in August 2006.
"The indictment of this dangerous MS-13 gang member is a positive step toward ridding our communities of the violent transnational street gangs that have instilled fear in our citizens and taken our communities hostage for far too long," stated ICE Special Agent-in-Charge Smith. "Through Operation Community Shield, ICE and its law enforcement partners will continue to conduct aggressive enforcement actions against members and associates of violent street gangs like MS-13."
"The defendants have spread fear in our community through wanton violence, including shooting, stabbing, and beating their victims," stated United States Attorney Campbell. "Today's charges reflect our unwavering commitment to bring members and associates of violent street gangs to justice." Mr. Campbell thanked the New York City Department of Probation for its assistance.
Queens County District Attorney Brown stated, "Rivalries among criminal street gangs all too often turn neighborhoods into urban battlefields with innocent victims being caught in the crossfire. Only through the joint and committed efforts of law enforcement on all levels of government can we reduce gang-related violence and reclaim our streets for law-abiding residents."
NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, "New York City has not experienced the explosion in gang violence experienced elsewhere, in part, because of continued, successful crime suppression and arrests by the NYPD with support from our federal partners."
If convicted, the defendants face maximum sentences of life imprisonment.
The MS-13 is comprised primarily of immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, many of whom are in the United States illegally. With hundreds of members locally, it is the largest street gang on Long Island and has a major presence in Queens, New York. Over the past four years, the coordinated efforts of United States Attorney's Office, ICE, the NYPD, and the Queens District Attorney's Office have resulted in felony convictions of nearly two dozen New York City members of the MS-13.
The government's case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Marshall L. Miller, Jason A. Jones, and Daniel S. Silver.
- HECTOR PORTILLO, also known as "Angel," "Manuel," and "Chucky" Age: 19
- NELSON MAURICIO PORTILLO ALAS, also known as "Snack" Age: 25
- JAVIER BONILLA, also known as "Fantasma" and "Ghost" Age: 20
- LUIS BONILLA, also known as "Chofre" Age: 22
- JAVIER IRHETA, also known as "Speedy" and "Juan Campos" Age: 21
- VICTOR MEJIA Age: 19
- FRANCISCO VALLE BLANCO, also known as "Hunter" and "Silent" Age: 20
- LUIS VALLE BLANCO, also known as "Anvil" Age: 21