MS-13 gang member pleads guilty to brutal murder spree and arson

September 1, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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A member of the notorious MS-13 gang, Enrique Portillo, known as “Oso” and “Turkey,” pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including four murders, four attempted murders and arson, in a federal court in Central Islip, Long Island on Thursday.

Portillo was a member of the Sailors Locos Salvatruchas Westside clique of MS-13, a violent transnational criminal organization with branches across the United States and Central America.

The guilty plea proceeding was presided over by U.S. District Judge Gary Brown. Portillo faces a life sentence for a racketeering charge and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for a firearms charge.

Portillo was involved in a series of violent crimes committed between July 2016 and May 2019. On July 18, 2016, Portillo and other MS-13 members fired at a group of men in Brentwood, New York, believing them to be rival gang members. Portillo used a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun and a machete in the attack, severely disfiguring one of the men.

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On Sept. 12, 2016, Portillo and other MS-13 members set fire to a car parked in a driveway in Brentwood. The arson was part of an ongoing conflict with rival gang members in the area.

The following day, Portillo and other MS-13 members brutally murdered two teenage girls, Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens, in Brentwood. The murders followed a series of disputes between Cuevas and MS-13 members, culminating in a violent altercation at Brentwood High School. Portillo and others attacked the girls with baseball bats and a machete, causing fatal injuries.

On Oct. 13, 2016, Portillo and other MS-13 members murdered Dewann Stacks in Brentwood, believing him to be a rival gang member. Stacks was attacked with a baseball bat and machetes, sustaining severe injuries to his face and head.

On Jan. 30, 2017, Portillo and other MS-13 members murdered Esteban Alvarado-Bonilla in Central Islip. The MS-13 members mistakenly believed that Alvarado-Bonilla was a member of a rival gang due to the number “18” on his football jersey. Portillo identified Alvarado-Bonilla as the target, and another MS-13 member shot and killed him inside a deli.

While in federal custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, Portillo attempted to murder two other inmates, identified as members of rival gangs, on Sep. 26, 2017, and May 30, 2019. Both inmates survived the attacks.

United States Attorney Breon Peace, FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge James Smith, and Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) Commissioner Rodney Harrison announced the guilty plea.

Peace stated that Portillo’s guilty plea to participating in “four extremely brutal murders” and other acts of violence and destruction carried out by the MS-13 reflected the gang’s “utter lack of respect for human life and the rule of law.” He expressed confidence that justice would be delivered when Portillo is sentenced and emphasized that efforts to hold all MS-13 gang members accountable would continue.

Smith warned that the guilty plea served as a warning to those willing to commit acts of violence to gain standing within a gang, stating that they would “face the consequences.”

Harrison expressed hope that the guilty plea would provide some peace to the victims’ families and commended the work of the Long Island Gang Task Force and the Eastern District of New York in prosecuting gang members.

The conviction is part of a series of federal prosecutions targeting MS-13 members by the United States Attorney’s Office. 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. Since 2010, indictments charging MS-13 members with over 65 murders have resulted in the convictions of dozens of MS-13 leaders and members.

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