A member of a Long Island MS-13 clique was sentenced in Central Islip federal court Tuesday to 45 years in prison for his role in the killings of two gang rivals.
U.S. District Court Judge Joseph F. Bianco said Anibel Rondolpho Rodriguez deserved the stiff sentence because of the ruthlessness he displayed in the 2012 shooting death of Miguel Perez, a member of the Zulu Nation street gang, and the 2013 fatal stabbing of Jose Ivan Reyes-Lainez, believed to be a member of the 18th Street gang.
“I view him as extremely dangerous to the community,” said Bianco, adding that the sentence will send a message to members of MS-13 and other gangs that they face lengthy prison terms if they follow Rodriguez’s path.
Prosecutors say Rodriguez, 29, was also involved in life-threatening assaults on two other men in 2013. The Honduran immigrant also stabbed a woman who was with Reyes-Lainez when he died to prevent her from being a witness to the killing, according to court papers.
Rodriguez pleaded guilty on March 30 to racketeering, which included acts of conspiracy to kill Perez and Reyes-Lainez. He also pleaded guilty to attempted murder and threatening to commit assault in the other cases.
Speaking in court through an interpreter, Rodriguez apologized to the relatives of his victims, to the United States for breaking its laws and to his own family for the suffering he has caused them. He did not show any emotion after his sentencing or when officers escorted him from the courtroom.
Rodriguez’s defense attorney, George Goltzer, asked Bianco for a 35-year sentence. Goltzer told the judge Rodriguez deserved the shorter prison term because of an impoverished childhood and abuse from alcoholic family members, trauma he suffered during his trek and illegal entry into the United States, and his struggles assimilating into American culture.
Rodriguez worked hard for many years in the United States to support his family, Goltzer said, proof that he was redeemable.
He joined MS-13, Goltzer said of his client, because the gang provided comfort at a time Rodriguez felt like “a stranger in a strange land.”
“He was not a leader,” Goltzer said. “He was a follower.”
Bianco was not swayed. He said he was concerned about the savagery of the attacks and the length of time Rodriguez spent as muscle for MS-13 leaders on Long Island. Bianco also said gang-themed drawings authorities found in Rodriguez’’s jail cell indicate he remains loyal to MS-13.
According to court papers, Rodriguez and two other MS-13 members agreed to kill Perez in August 2012 because the victim was associated with the Zulu Nation gang, which had an ongoing dispute with an MS-13 clique in Hempstead. Rodriguez and a second MS-13 member were talking to Perez outside his Freeport home when the third gang member shot him three times with a 9 mm handgun.
The court papers said Rodriguez and other MS-13 members stabbed Reyes-Lainez to death in October 2013 on Lawson Street in Hempstead because they believed he was a member of the rival 18th Street gang. Prosecutors said Rodriguez also participated in a September 2013 Roosevelt assault during a confrontation between MS-13 and the Bloods street gang. Rodriguez beat one man with a baseball bat, according to court papers. The victim suffered serious injuries but survived the assault.
Rodriguez and other MS-13 members attacked a man outside a Hempstead bar in October 2013 because they believed he was in a rival gang, prosecutors said. The man suffered serious injuries but survived the attack.