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Teenage MS-13 member gets 50 years for his role in Long Island quadruple-killing

2019-09-09

A teenage MS-13 member will spend 50 years in federal prison for his role in the brutal killing of four young men in a Long Island park.

Freiri Martinez was just 15 years old when he and his fellow gang members descended on four young men, believed to be members of a rival gang who had offended MS-13, and attacked them with machetes, knives, wooden clubs and an ax.

He then ran from New York to Virginia, then Maryland in an attempt to escape justice, dealing drugs and committing assaults and robberies while he was a fugitive, federal prosecutors said.

Martinez, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, was sentenced in federal court in Central Islip Monday. He faces deportation after he completes his sentence.

The teen was initially charged as a juvenile, but waived a hearing after federal prosecutors moved to transfer him to adult status. He pleaded guilty to racketeering in connection with the murders of Justin Llivicura, Michael Lopez, Jorge Tigre and Jefferson Villalobos.

Two young women associated with MS-13 lured the young men, along with a fifth victim, to a community park in Central Islip on April 11, 2017. A group of MS-13 members were waiting in the woods to ambush them. The fifth victim escaped.

In a letter this January, Martinez’s defense lawyer said he was born in a small farming town in El Salvador, and was pressed into selling marijuana by gang members as a boy.

His grandmother sent him to the U.S. to live with an aunt to get him away from “violent gangs and a vengeful police force," only to find himself surrounded by the same influences in America, lawyer Martin Geduldig wrote in a plea for a 25-year sentence.

“In a stunning turn of events, Freiri quickly discovered that his aunt lived in a community overwhelmed with gang members,” Geduldig wrote. “Unfortunately, the grandmother did not know that Freiri was being sent to one of the most dangerous hot spots in the United States.”

He’s the second suspect to plead guilty and be sentenced in the murders. Four more alleged MS-13 members are awaiting trial, and a decision by the Attorney General William Barr on whether to seek the death penalty.