25 alleged members of MS-13 indicted

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Federal prosecutors Thursday said they had arrested five men they described as members or associates of a street gang in connection with three previously unsolved murders in Nassau County.

The U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn Thursday announced the unsealing of a 70-count indictment, which also identified for the first time two of three men charged with the killing a young woman and her 2-year-old son in Central Islip last year.

The sweeping indictment charged 25 alleged members and associates of the street gang MS-13 with murder, assault, witness tampering, extortion, obstruction of justice and weapons and narcotics trafficking.

Four of those indicted, jailed on prior charges, were accused of trying to extort money, drugs and commissary items from fellow inmates at Nassau County jail in East Meadow.

The indictment said another defendant, Francisco Ramos, 21, while being held in the Nassau jail on prior charges, conspired to kill three people he believed were planning to testify against him in an upcoming assault trial.

Prosecutors said they made arrests in the murders of Santos Castillo-Martinez, 20, of Hempstead, who was found stabbed to death in a car in Hempstead in 2008, and Jairo Vasquez and Erick Avalos, 16, both of whom were killed in 2009; Vasquez in Garden City and Avalos in Hempstead.

Castillo-Martinez, the then leader of the 18th Street gang on Long Island, was killed the day after a confrontation between MS-13 and 18th Street members at Roosevelt Field, said sources familiar with the investigation.

Prosecutors also identified two previously unnamed men charged with the shooting deaths last year of Vanessa Argueta, 19, of Hempstead, and her son, Diego Torres. The suspects were identified as Rene Mendez Mejia, 17, and Heriberto Martinez, 24. Previously, Adalberto Ariel Guzman, 18, had been charged with the killings of Argueta and Diego.

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before U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco

The defendants named are:

Yonis Acosta-Yanes, 25

Erick Alvarado, 29

Roger Alvarado, 31

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Jeremias Exequiel Amaya, 21

Wilber Ayala-Ardon, 19

Yobany Calderon, 20

Vidal Espinal, 23

Adalberto Ariel Guzman, 18

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Mario Alphonso Herrera-Umanzor, 23

Cesar Landaverde, 23

Carlos Martinez, 20

Heriberto Martinez, 24

Rene Mendez Mejia, 17

Diego Ninos, 23

Jose Gustavo Orellano-Torres, 26

Elenilson Ortiz, 40

Giovanni Prado, 26

Francisco Ramos, 21

Walter Reyes, 21

Louis Ruiz, 21

Emilio Saballos, 28

Jimmy Sosa, 20

David Valle, 20

Franklin E. Villatoro, 20

Efrain Zuniga, 29

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