Gang leader, in Brooklyn federal court, admits racketeering, murder conspiracy

March 8, 2013 U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District
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Hector Aleman Lemos, the former leader of the Flushing, Queens, chapter of the violent international gang La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as “MS-13,” pleaded guilty Friday to racketeering and murder conspiracy charges. 

Lemos entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. As part of his plea, Lemos agreed to a sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment.

The guilty plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, whose office is in Brooklyn; James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York Field Office; and Charles Gardner, Commissioner, Yonkers Police Department.

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According to the indictment and other court filings, Lemos, known in the gang as “Diablito,” was alleged to have been the leader of a chapter of the gang that committed a series of violent crimes, including murder, murder conspiracy and attempted murder.

Among other crimes, Lemos was charged with murdering 25-year-old John Halley in Yonkers, New York. Lemos believed, incorrectly, that Halley was a member of a rival gang when he shot him on the street. As part of his plea,

Lemos admitted that he participated in the murder of Halley, as well as the shooting of a 13-year-old boy who had been standing on the stoop of a house in Flushing that Lemos believed to be a rival gang location.

This conviction is the latest of the more than 120 convictions of MS-13 soldiers and leaders in the Eastern District of New York over the past decade. MS-13 is a violent, transnational gang, based in El Salvador, which has engaged in narcotics trafficking, robbery, extortion, murder and other crimes in cities throughout the United States and Central America.

“Lemos was the leader of a gang that turned our streets into a shooting gallery, and killed innocent bystanders in its bid to dominate the streets,” said Lynch. “Lemos’s conviction underscores this Office’s ongoing commitment to eradicating MS-13’s influence in our communities and seeking justice for the gang’s victims and their families.”

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