Defendant Shot and Killed Two Victims in Brentwood and Hempstead, Before Fleeing to Maryland, Where He Conspired to Kill a Third Victim.
Central Islip, NY - June 29, 2017 - Earlier today at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York, Melvin Marquez-Sanchez, a member of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13, was sentenced to 40 years in prison by United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco. Marquez-Sanchez previously pled guilty to racketeering charges in connection with the August 25, 2012 murder of Douglas Martinez in Brentwood, New York, the September 8, 2012 murder of Jose Vallejo in Hempstead, New York, and a conspiracy to kill a rival gang member in Maryland in early 2013.
The sentence was announced by Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); Timothy D. Sini, Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD); and Thomas C. Krumpter, Acting Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD).
“This defendant killed two young men here on Long Island, before fleeing to Maryland, where he sought to continue the murderous agenda of the MS-13,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde. “Due to our continuing work with the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force, the defendant’s role in these violent crimes has come to an end. Today’s sentence will ensure that the public is protected from this defendant for decades to come.” Ms. Rohde expressed her sincere appreciation to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland for its invaluable assistance and cooperation during this prosecution.
“The brutal nature of MS-13’s crimes and the intimidation tactics they use in furtherance of their illegal activity pose a very serious threat to the communities in which they live,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “Even more disturbing is the impact their presence has on the children in these neighborhoods, who face this disturbing reality in school and other places where they should be made to feel safe. Gang violence, whether directed toward rival gang members or not, negatively affects society as a whole. Today, thanks to the great work of our partners on the Long Island Gang Task Force and our colleagues at EDNY, we can assure the public we’re continuing to erode the influence of MS-13 in our communities and that Melvin Marquez-Sanchez will no longer have the chance to roam free.”
“The Suffolk County Police Department is staunchly committed to working with our regional and federal law enforcement partners in taking down every single member and associate of MS-13,” Commissioner Sini stated. “These vicious and inhumane individuals have no place in our society. The sentencing of Marquez-Sanchez guarantees he will never be on our streets again and reinforces this department’s strong message to all gang members – we will find you, and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“The arrest and sentencing of defendant Marquez-Sanchez is another positive step for our residents and families as it eliminates another MS-13 member from society,” stated NCPD Commissioner Krumpter. “Our main goal is to protect our communities with special emphasis on our young men and women, and I would like to congratulate all of the law enforcement professionals who assisted with this investigation.”
As set forth in the government’s sentencing memorandum and other court filings, Marquez-Sanchez committed two murders on Long Island during the summer of 2012, before fleeing to Maryland, where he continued his affiliation with the MS-13 and plotted to kill a rival gang member. Specifically, on August 25, 2012, Marquez-Sanchez shot Martinez multiple times at point-blank range with a .38 caliber revolver, killing him. Marquez-Sanchez and several other MS-13 members, including an MS-13 leader in El Salvador, decided to kill Martinez for violating the rules of the gang, namely, not “putting in work” (committing acts of violence against rival gang members), not sending enough money to gang leaders in El Salvador, and possibly cooperating with law enforcement authorities. In total, seven MS-13 members have been convicted of racketeering charges in connection with Martinez’s murder.
Two weeks later, Marquez-Sanchez and several other MS-13 members carried out the murder of Vallejo, a suspected rival gang member who was selling drugs in Kennedy Park in Hempstead, New York, which the MS-13 considered to be its turf. After the MS-13 members lured Vallejo to the park, under the guise of purchasing marijuana, Marquez-Sanchez shot Vallejo multiple times with the same .38 caliber revolver and another MS-13 member attacked Vallejo with a machete, slashing his throat and face. Marquez-Sanchez and four other MS-13 members have been convicted of racketeering charges in connection with Vallejo’s murder.
After committing the Martinez and Vallejo murders on Long Island, Marquez-Sanchez fled to Maryland, where he continued his membership in the MS-13. Beginning in January 2013, Marquez-Sanchez and other members of the Sailors clique members conspired to kill an individual who they believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street gang. On several occasions in early 2013, Marquez-Sanchez and other MS-13 members traveled to a specific neighborhood in Maryland for the purpose of killing the victim, but were unable to locate him. However, after Marquez-Sanchez had been arrested on other charges, on March 12, 2013, that victim was located and murdered by Marquez-Sanchez’s co-conspirators.
Today’s sentencing is the latest in a series of prosecutions by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York targeting members of the MS-13, a violent international criminal organization. The MS-13’s leadership is based in El Salvador and Honduras, but the gang has thousands of members across the United States, comprised primarily of immigrants from Central America. With numerous branches, or “cliques,” the MS-13 is the largest and most violent street gang on Long Island. Since 2003, hundreds of MS-13 members, including dozens of clique leaders, have been convicted on federal felony charges in the Eastern District of New York. A majority of those MS-13 members have been convicted on federal racketeering charges for participating in murders, attempted murders and assaults. Since 2010 alone, this Office has obtained indictments charging MS-13 members with carrying out more than 35 murders in the Eastern District of New York, and has convicted dozens of MS-13 leaders and members in connection with those 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, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, New York State Police, Suffolk County Police Department, Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, Suffolk County Probation Department, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, Hempstead Police Department, and Rockville Centre Police Department.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorneys John J. Durham, Raymond A. Tierney, and Paul G. Scotti are in charge of the prosecution.