5 Alleged MS-13 Gang Members Indicted

Five alleged members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, or MS-13, were indicted on murder, assault and robbery charges on Monday.

Jose Alvarenga and Hector Torres were charged with the murder of 15-year-old Christopher Hamilton in 2009 and the murder of Rigoberto Gomez in 2010. Both homicides took place in Brentwood.

They were arraigned in federal court in Central Islip and pleaded not guilty. They are being held without bail, according to the spokesman for the Office of United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Three other defendants will be arraigned on Tuesday.

Prosecutors said in the indictment that Alvarenga, the alleged leader of the Brentwood MS-13 clique, ordered several MS-13 gang members to attack suspected rival gang members at a house party on American Boulevard. He also allegedly armed the MS-13 members with a .22 caliber rifle and a semi-automatic handgun and led them to the house in November 2009. Gang members fired at least three rifle shots into a crowd outside the house. One of the bullets struck Hamilton in the temple and killed him.

Alvarenga is the fifth MS-13 member involved in the Hamilton murder to face federal charges. The alleged shooter in the case is a minor and his case remained sealed, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also allege that Hector Torres, second in command of the Brentwood MS-13 clique, together with another MS-13 member fatally shot Rigoberto Gomez. Prosecutors said Gomez was suspected of cooperating with local law enforcement, and that the Sailors MS-13 clique authorized his killing in August 2010.

The charges are the latest in a series of indictments in the Eastern District of New York federal court against MS-13 members, a transnational gang that has established a strong presence on Long Island. It has formed over 20 cliques and some of the strongest ones are in Hempstead, Freeport, Brentwood and Central Islip, according to the FBI.

Using the Racketeer and Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, or RICO Act, prosecutors charged or secured convictions of more than 20 MS-13 members last year.