What to Know
- A 17-year-old Central Islip man, an MS-13 member, pleaded guilty Monday to the April, 2017 murders of four men, prosecutors say
- Josue Portillo entered his guilty plea in federal court and faces life in prison when he is sentenced in January as an adult
- Portillo and other MS-13 gang members then surrounded the victims and used machetes, knives and clubs to murder them, the court papers say
A 17-year-old Central Islip man, a member of MS-13, pleaded guilty Monday to the April, 2017 murders of four men thought to be members of a rival gang, prosecutors say.
Josue Portillo entered his guilty plea in federal court in Central Islip and faces life in prison when he is sentenced in January.
On April 11, 2017, Portillo and other members of MS-13 allegedly directed two female associates to lure five young men to a community park in Central Islip. Portillo and the other MS-13 members met in another area of the park where they discussed their plan to kill the victims, court papers say.
After the victims and the female MS-13 associates arrived at the park the females sent a text message to Portillo describing their location. Portillo and the other MS-13 gang members then surrounded the victims and used machetes, knives and wooden clubs to murder Justin Llivicura, Michael Lopez, Jorge Tigre, and Jason Villalobos, the court papers say. The fifth intended victim escaped.
The victims’ bodies were discovered the next day.
Portillo, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, was 15 years and 11 months old at the time of the murders and was initially charged as a juvenile in July, 2017 while in immigration custody, prosecutors say.
Earlier this month, a federal judge ordered that Portillo be prosecuted as an adult.
“Whether young or old, the savagery of MS-13 gang members remains the same,” said FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney. “Portillo and other members of MS-13 brutally beat and killed four young men, leaving them in an isolated wooden area.”
Others charged in the murders are Alexis Hernandez, Santos Leonel Ortiz-Flores, Omar Villalta, Edwin Diaz, and five juveniles, prosecutors say.