Officials: MS-13 gang member sentenced for killing rival gang member

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A member of the MS-13 street gang was sentenced Monday to 21 years and 9 months in prison in the stabbing death of a member of the rival 18th Street gang, officials said.

Yobany Calderon, 22, had pleaded guilty to killing Erick Avalos, 16, in 2009 outside a fast-food restaurant in Hempstead. Calderon and another MS-13 member stabbed Avalos, of the 18th Street gang, 15 times, court records say. Avalos was unarmed.

The other MS-13 member is awaiting sentencing. As part of a plea bargain, Calderon also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute marijuana between 2003 and 2011, officials said.

The sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco in Central Islip was the maximum recommended under sentencing guidelines, as part of the plea bargain.

Calderon, of Hempstead, who has been a member of the gang since he was 13, has a history of criminal conduct. Among his convictions were criminal possession of a weapon after he was arrested on the Hofstra University campus and was accused of harassing people, and possession of stolen property after he was arrested when police said he ran a red light in a stolen Lexus, according to court papers filed by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Durham and Raymond Tierney.

After the sentencing, Calderon's attorney, Anthony La Pinta, of Hauppauge, said, "Mr. Calderon has taken full responsibility for his crimes and understands that he must now be punished."

Calderon was one of 25 MS-13 members charged in March of 2011 with a variety of crimes ranging from murder to extortion, to weapons and narcotics trafficking, as a result of an investigation by the FBI's Long Island Gang Task Force.

According to figures by Eastern District federal prosecutors and the FBI, agents working with local law enforcement, have arrested 850 gang members or associates on Long Island since 2002, including more than 200 MS-13 members.

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