A suspected member of the Brentwood chapter of the MS-13 street gang was arrested in Kansas Thursday, accused in the killing last year of a fellow gangster suspected of being a federal informant, authorities said.
Milton Contreras, 19, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder in-aid-of racketeering, murder in-aid-of racketeering, obstruction-of-justice murder, and firearms offenses. He was expected to be arraigned at the United States Courthouse in Kansas City, Kansas, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Officials did not say why Contreras was in Kansas.PhotosRecent LI mug shotsDataLI crime stats
Two others, who authorities said are also MS-13 members, Byron Lopez of Queens and Oscar Welman Espinoza-Merino of Brentwood, face the same charges in connection with the Feb. 25, 2014, shooting death of fellow gang member Sidney Valverde. The three would face life in prison if convicted.
Valverde was shot in the back of the head and, weeks later, a beachcomber discovered his body at a Miller Place beach, federal authorities said.
Valverde was lured to Long Island by the three men, who told him they needed his help with gang business, federal officials said Thursday. Instead, Valverde was shot because they suspected he had been cooperating with federal law enforcement, officials said.
The arrest of Contreras, who goes by the nickname "Diabolico," is the latest effort at targeting Queens and Long Island members of "MS-13, a violent international street gang comprised primarily of immigrants from El Salvador and Honduras," the statement said, adding that MS-13 is the largest street gang on Long Island.
Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in the statement that the Justice Department has aggressively pursued convictions of MS-13 members.
"The prosecution of these three defendants is a part of the office's ongoing commitment to dismantle MS-13, which for years has fomented violence and lawlessness in neighborhoods throughout Queens and Long Island," Lynch said.
More than 250 MS-13 members have been convicted on felony charges in the Eastern District of New York, including more than 150 on federal racketeering charges, authorities said.