A MS-13 gang member is set to die in jail for planning the murders of two teenagers who were lured to a New York City suburb wooded area and attacked with machetes.
Kevin López-Morales, 23, was sentenced to life in prison by Nassau County Judge Patricia Harrington on Wednesday.
He could be eligible for parole in 24 years. Morales admitted two second degree murder charges on September 9, 2019.
López-Morales and other MS-13’s Hollywood Clique members were able to lure Josue Amaya-Leonor, 19, to the wooded area of the Roosevelt Preserve in Long Island and promised him marijuana before they hacked him with a machete on September 4, 2016.
Amaya-Leonor, who was viewed as a rival of the gang, was then buried by López-Morales and his co-defendants. His body was located on May 30, 2018.
The cases against López-Morales’ co-defendants are still pending.
López-Morales also was guilty of killing 15-year-old Ángel Soler on July 21, 2017.
Kevin López-Morales, 23, was sentenced to life in prison by Nassau County (New York) Judge Patricia Harrington on Wednesday. A member of the MS-13, López-Morales pleaded guilty in June 2019 for the September 4, 2016 murder of Josue Amaya-Leonor and the killing of 15-year-old Ángel Soler on July 21, 2017. He could be eligible for parole in 24 year.
Josue Amaya-Leonor, 19, was lured by MS-13 gang members to the wooded area of the Roosevelt Preserve in Long Island. He was promised marijuana before he was hacked with a machete on September 4, 2016
Ángel Soler (right) died at the age of 15 on July 21, 2017 in Long Island, New York, after he was savagely beaten by the MS-13. His remains were found buried under cement in a wooded area in the town of Roosevelt in October of that same year. At the time of his disappearance, his mother Supaya Soler (left) told Telemundo that her son had arrived from Honduras as an unaccompanied minor in 2015, fleeing his native country because of gang violence. Before his death, the high school student had told her that he had been threatened by the MS-13
He and fellow gang members David Sosa-Guevera, Victor López and Dennis López attacked the high school student with a machete and buried his body under cement in a remote wooded area in the town of Roosevelt.
The body of Soler – a native of Honduras who in 2014 arrived to the United States as an unaccompanied minor – was recovered on October 19, 2017 near the Southern State Parkway.
At the time of his disappearance, Soler’s mother had told Telemundo that he had been threatened by the gang and informed the police that she feared he had fallen into their hands.
Sosa-Guevera was sentenced to 24 years to life in prison and Victor López was sentenced to 23 years to life. Dennis López also received a 23 years to life sentence.
‘Kevin López-Morales and his co-defendants acted as friends to two young men but lured them to their deaths over perceived slights to MS-13,’ Nassau County District Attorney’s Office Acting DA Joyce A. Smith said. ‘MS-13 has left behind many grieving families on Long Island, but their attempts to destroy our community have not and will not be successful. We continue to spend any and all necessary resources to eliminate this vicious and unthinkable gang violence in our communities.”
López-Morales is the second MS-13 member to received a life sentence in less than a week.
Samuel ‘Little Chickie’ Ponce was one of five MS-13 gang members who ambushed and murdered alleged rival Bryan Lemus, 18, on August 23, 2016. Ponce was sentenced to life in prison August 25, but he could be out in nine years
Samuel ‘Little Chickie’ Ponce, 20, was sentenced August 25 for his role in the machete killing of an 18-year-old Bryan Lemus in a Nassau County park in 2016.
Ponce, who was 15 at the time of the cold-blooded killing, could be out in nine years.
MS-13 – which reportedly committed over two dozen murders between 2016 and 2017 – became a frequent target of former President Donald Trump as he sought to toughen the nation’s immigration laws.
In May 2018, Trump alleged that ‘we have people coming into the country or trying to come in, we’re stopping a lot of them, but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are,’ said President Trump during a White House meeting in May with California lawmakers that opposed sanctuary city policies.
‘These aren’t people. These are animals.’
Also known as the Mara Salvatrucha, the gang was founded in Los Angeles between the 1970s and 1980s to provide protection for immigrants from El Salvador against rival gangs.
The gang’s presence quickly spread to El Salvador as many members were deported, thus expanding the MS-13 influence to neighboring countries in Central America.
The notorious street gang throughout the years expanded across the United States, entrenching itself in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Mississippi and Virginia.