On Friday, United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco sentenced Jose Gustavo Orellana-Torres, also known as “Diablito,” the former leader of the Coronados clique of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13 street gang, to 365 months’ imprisonment following his September 25, 2012 guilty plea to racketeering, including predicate acts relating to the May 26, 2009 murder of Dexter Acheampong in Central Islip, New York, and the July 5, 2009 attempted murder of a suspected rival gang member in Roosevelt, New York.
The sentence was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Thomas V. Dale, Commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department.
According to his plea allocution and documents previously filed in the case, on May 26, 2009, Orellana-Torres attended a Coronados clique meeting in Brentwood, New York, and the MS-13 members agreed to “put in work” for the gang by killing rival gang members. Orellana-Torres and several other MS-13 members drove around Brentwood and Central Islip looking for rival gang members, and Orellana-Torres was armed with a .38 caliber revolver. While in the vicinity of East Maple Street in Central Islip, the MS-13 members observed Dexter Acheampong, whom they did not know but believed, based on the color of his skin and the neighborhood he was walking in, to be a member of the Bloods street gang. In fact, Mr. Acheampong did not belong to any street gang. Orellana-Torres stepped out of the car and fired four shots at Mr. Acheampong with the .38 caliber revolver, striking the victim twice in the back as he tried to escape. Mr. Acheampong was found dead in the driveway of a home on East Maple Street the next morning.
Just over a month later, on July 4-5, 2009, Orellana-Torres attended another MS-13 meeting, this time in Roosevelt, New York. The MS-13 members again discussed killing rival gang members. Orellana-Torres, who possessed the same .38 caliber revolver that night, and other MS-13 members drove around Roosevelt, New York, looking for rival gang members. The MS-13 members observed a man, whose identity is known to the government but is not being disclosed in order to protect his safety, whom they believed to be a rival gang member. One of the other MS-13 members fired several shots at the man, striking him once in the hand.
“The MS-13 street gang has become infamous for its senseless and depraved acts of violence, but even for the MS-13, these vicious crimes demonstrated exceptional depravity. Orellana-Torres and his co-conspirators targeted Dexter Acheampong and another young man, whom they did not even know, because they believed them to be rival gang members,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “This sentence should make clear that gang members will pay a heavy price for such cold, calculated acts of violence.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Venizelos stated, “We cannot overstate our commitment to investigating MS-13 and other gangs on Long Island. As the case of Orellana-Torres shows, MS-13 is not about ethnic pride, it is a violent, murderous horde. It is hard to imagine a more wanton disregard for human life than shooting a person in the back because the color of his skin makes you think he may be a rival gang member.”
Orellana-Torres’s conviction is the latest in a series of federal prosecutions by this office targeting New York members of the MS-13, a violent international street gang comprised primarily of immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. With numerous branches, or “cliques,” the MS-13 is the largest street gang on Long Island. Since 2002, more than 200 MS-13 members, including more than two dozen clique leaders, have been convicted on federal felony charges in the Eastern District of New York. More than 100 of those MS-13 members have been convicted on federal racketeering charges. Since 2010 alone, this office has convicted more than 30 members of the MS-13 on charges relating to their participation in one or more murders. These prosecutions are the product of investigations led by the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force, comprising agents and officers of the FBI, Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, Suffolk County Probation, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, and the Rockville Centre Police Department.
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John J. Durham, Raymond A. Tierney, and Carrie N. Capwell.
Jose Gustavo Orellana-Torres, aka Diablito
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