An MS-13 gang member was hit with a 55-year prison sentence on Wednesday for his role in the massacre of four young men on Long Island.
Josue Portillo, an undocumented immigrant who was just 15 when the murders took place, pleaded guilty to racketeering charges last year in connection with the deaths of Justin Llivicura, Michael Lopez, Jorge Tigre and Jefferson Villalobos. They were brutally killed in a Central Islip park on April 11, 2017.
“MS-13 and the actions of the gang members in this case defy comprehension," said William Sweeney of the FBI. “These are teenagers who think human life is some sort of game, viciously murdering other teenagers because they were disrespected. The FBI Long Island Gang Task Force is working closely with our law enforcement partners and the community to prevent more attacks and murders from happening.”
Portillo, now 18, was given his sentence at the federal courthouse in Central Islip. The El Salvador native faces deportation from the U.S. as soon as he completes his sentence.
“I know what I have done was so very wrong,” he said in Spanish, according to Newsday. “I apologize for my heinous crime and will always pray for the families of these victims, none of whom deserved to die.”
He added that "I now realize how selfish it was for me to be consumed by soccer, girls and marijuana offered by MS-13."
Prosecutors say Portillo and other MS-13 members used machetes, knives, wooden clubs and an ax to kill the four victims after they were lured to the park by female gang members. A fifth intended victim escaped.
The MS-13 gang has thousands of members across the U.S. and is the “largest and most violent street gang on Long Island,” according to the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said in a statement that the department will continue to work to "dismantle this transnational gang.”