A MS-13 gang member was sentenced to 45 years in federal prison for his part in murdering a 19-year-old mother and her 2-year-old son. Rene Mendez Mejia, who goes by the name “Zorro,” lured Vanessa Argueta and her son, Diego Torres into a secluded wooded area in Central Islip, New York, on February 5, 2010. Two other MS-13 members were with him when they executed the pair.
The young mother was shot in the head and the chest by Mejia and fellow gang member, Juan Garcia. Her toddler son was shot twice in the head by gang member accomplice Adalberto Ariel Guzman.
A statement from the DOJ says Ms. Argueta was targeted because they believed she had sent rival gang members to attack Garcia.
The three gang members fled to El Salvador after the murders.
In May 2010, Guzman and Mejia were apprehended and arrested by authorities and returned to the United States. Garcia remained on the run for four years. He was caught after he was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List in March of 2014. He surrendered to law enforcement authorities in Nicaragua. He was returned to the United States after he waived extradition.
Mejia pled guilty in June of 2011. He was sentenced on Monday to 45 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Bianco.
In a statement obtained from Breitbart Texas from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York, U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers said, “Mejia and his fellow MS-13 members brutally and senselessly executed a young woman and her two-year-old child. While nothing can reverse this tragedy, we hope that today’s sentence and the convictions and sentencings of Mejia’s co-conspirators have brought the victims’ families some measure of justice and comfort.”
The gang, also known as La Mara Salvatrucha, is a violent international criminal organization. It’s leadership is based in El Salvador and Honduras but it has members all over the United States. According to a statement released from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the gang is comprised primarily of immigrants from Central America.
“This prosecution exemplifies the ruthless and senseless violence committed at the hands of MS-13 gang members, which threatens the very fabric of our communities. The Suffolk County Police Department will continue to aggressively work with our law enforcement partners to bring these violent criminals to justice,” stated Commissioner Timothy Sini.
Mejia and his three co-conspirators have now all been sentenced.
Guzman was convicted on charges relating to the Argueta and Torres murders in September 2013 and was sentenced to life in prison, plus 35 years. Garcia pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the Argueta and Torres murders.
MS-13 leader Heriberto Martinez, helped plot to kill Argueta. He was convicted in March 2013 after a six-week trial for the Argueta murder, the March 6, 2010 murder of Nestor Moreno in Hempstead, New York, and the March 17, 2010 murder of Mario Alberto Canton Quijada in Far Rockaway, New York. He was later sentenced to life in prison, plus 60 years.
“As the last defendant is sentenced for the brutal murders of a young woman and her toddler son by MS-13 gang members, we hope the victims’ family can finally feel justice has been served. The FBI is committed to working with our partners to not only root-out gangs in our communities but also bring their crimes to justice no matter how long it takes,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez.