An MS-13 gang member was convicted of murder on Thursday after he “marked for death” a man in a Long Island deli because he was wearing Peyton Manning’s No. 18 jersey.
The New York Post, which has closely tracked reports on the notoriously brutal MS-13 gang, first reported on the case in March (formatting adjusted):
Jose Suarez, an associate of the MS-13 Sailors clique, is accused of being the getaway driver in the cold-blooded Jan. 29 killing of Esteban Alvarado-Bonilla in a Long Island deli. “The only way he could rise up the ranks … was to commit outrageous acts of violence, including murder,” US Assistant Attorney Raymond A. Tierney said during opening arguments in the Central Islip courtroom.
Prosecutors said Suarez, 24, and his associates “marked for death” the victim because he was wearing a Manning number 18 jersey and was suspected of being part of the rival 18th Street gang. Suarez was the getaway driver and was to “serve as the communications center,” by relaying information back to the leaders, Tierney said.
On Thursday, the court found Suarez guilty of murder, racketeering and assault connected to the murder of Alvarado-Bonilla and an assault in 2016 in Brentwood, New York.
The attempts by Suarez’s attorney to portray the killing as the result of a non-gang-related “stupid fight” among “dumb” youngsters failed to convince the court.
“Suarez has been held responsible for the execution-style murder of a suspected gang rival and violent assaults, ruthless crimes that reflect the danger to our communities posed by MS-13,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue, the Post reported Thursday. “By his actions the defendant sought status within the gang, and with today’s verdict, what he has found instead is a mandatory sentence of life in prison.”
After Suarez helped mark Alvarado-Bonilla for the hit and communicated with gang leaders, the shooter, Mario Aguilar-Lopez, entered the El Campesino Deli and shot him in the head. One of the bullets that went through the victim’s head non-fatally wounded a female deli clerk, the Post notes. Aguilar-Lopez pleaded guilty in 2018.
The MS-13 gang has been repeatedly in the news due to its embrace of violence and particularly brutal tactics, and because many of its members are illegal immigrants. On Tuesday, the gang was back in the headlines after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sent out a press release revealing that they were searching for two illegal immigrant teens suspected of being MS-13 gang members for allegedly murdering a 14-year-old girl after the teens were released by Maryland authorities.
“Following the recent arrest of two unlawfully present teens suspected in the violent murder of a young girl in Maryland, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers in Baltimore are again seeking to take custody of the illegal aliens through the ICE detainer process following the Prince George’s County Detention Center’s (PGCDC) failure to cooperate,” KTTV reported.
President Trump has repeatedly drawn attention to the violence of the MS-13 “animals” as an example of how a porous border and ineffective immigration system puts Americans at risk.