A man wanted in the slaying of a fellow MS-13 gang member whose skeletal remains were unearthed in Brentwood in 2016 was in custody Friday, officials said.
Jerlin Villalta, 21, was arrested at an immigration office by the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force and charged with the murder of Jose Pena-Hernandez, 18, according to federal prosecutors.
Villalta, a native of El Salvador who lived in Brentwood, was ordered held without bail at his arraignment Wednesday before Judge Joseph F. Bianco in U.S. District Court in Central Islip, prosecutors said.
New unit to target MS-13, other gangs, DA saysThe district attorney said it will focus on all crimes committed by gangs and work with federal officials to “to make sure that no one’s slipping through the cracks.”
The U.S. attorney’s office said Villalta was represented by the federal defender’s office, which does not comment on its cases.
Villalta was among more than half a dozen members of the MS-13 gang indicted last year in the murder, but his name was not made public at the time, prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors have said Pena-Hernandez was killed because his fellow gang members believed he had talked to law enforcement.
Pena-Hernandez was reported missing in June 2016 and his skeletal remains were discovered in October 2016 on the grounds of the Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center in Brentwood.
Earlier this week, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said he has formed a gang unit that will target MS-13, which is believed responsible for more than two dozen murders on Long Island in the past two years.