A former leader of the violent MS-13 gang faces murder charges for the death of a rival gang member back in 2012, federal prosecutors announced Friday.
An unsealed indictment charges Marcelo Esquivel, 31, with murder in-aid-of racketeering and causing death through the use of a firearm. He was arrested Thursday and was scheduled scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon.
Esquivel faces charges for the 2012 death of Daniel Licona-Gonzalez, a suspected Latin Kings gang member, according to federal prosecutors. The charges allege Esquivel instructed two members of MS-13 to murder Licona-Gonzalez; he also provided the gun, court documents say.
The two members of MS-13, identified as Coconspirator-1 and Coconspirator-2 in court documents, allegedly traveled to Jamaica, Queens where the former used the gun provided by Esquivel to shoot Licona-Gonzalez.
If convicted, Esquivel faces life in prison or the death penalty.
"As alleged, Esquivel ordered the murder of another human being in furtherance of the vicious code of the MS-13 gang, and the life of an 18-year-old man was ended by co-conspirators carrying out the defendant's death wish," U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a press release.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York says it has obtained indictments charging MS-13 members with carrying out more than 45 murders since 2010.
"The Eastern District will continue to do everything possible to crush the MS-13 and Esquivel's arrest sends a powerful message that the passage of time will not deter this Office and our law enforcement partners from investigating, prosecuting and holding accountable anyone who commits violent crimes on behalf of the gang," Donoghue concluded.
Attorney information for Esquivel was not immediately known.