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DA: Fourth person charged in MS-13 slaying of Angel Soler

Dennis Lopez, 18, of Freeport, is charged with

Dennis Lopez, 18, of Freeport, is charged with murder in the July 2017 death of Angel Soler, whose body was recovered in a wooded area of Roosevelt nearly three months after he went missing. Credit: NCDA

A fourth person faces a murder charge in the brutal machete slaying of a Roosevelt teenager that the MS-13 gang allegedly carried out last summer before burying the victim’s remains in cement, law enforcement officials announced Wednesday.

A July indictment charged Dennis Lopez, 18, of Freeport, with murder in the July 2017 death of Angel Soler, 15, whose body authorities recovered last fall in a wooded area of Roosevelt nearly three months after he went missing.

Records show Lopez pleaded not guilty to murder at arraignment earlier this month in Nassau County Court as part of what prosecutors said Wednesday was a 16-count indictment also charging four other alleged MS-13 members or gang associates with separate drug and weapon crimes.

Lopez, who prosecutors say uses the street name “Maliante,” has been behind bars in Nassau’s jail for months, after his February arrest in connection with conspiracy and weapon charges stemming from a January indictment authorities said delivered a “heavy blow” to MS-13’s infrastructure.

That earlier indictment had accused Lopez of conspiring with others including David Sosa-Guevara, 27, of Wyandanch, and Victor Lopez, 30, of Roosevelt — who were indicted in Soler’s slaying at that time — to commit the killing. Police in May also arrested Josue Figueroa-Velasquez, 18, of Freeport, in Soler’s killing, but records show he hasn’t been indicted.

Prosecutors previously alleged Dennis Lopez is a member of the gang’s Hollywood clique, or subgroup, and took orders from Sosa-Guevara while carrying out a role of transporting weapons, along with moving money and helping distribute drugs in Nassau County.

The January indictment charged 17 defendants with crimes ranging from murder and drug trafficking to conspiracy and weapons possession, while ensnaring the gang’s alleged East Coast leader.

The charges in the July indictment grew out of the same probe, according to a joint announcement from Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas and James Hunt, the special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Division.

Police arrested the four others charged in the new indictment on felony offenses following a January vehicle stop in New Cassel in which they seized a loaded revolver and marijuana, according to authorities.

They identified those defendants Wednesday as Ramon Martines, 35, of Hempstead; Jairon Gudiel, 22, of West Hempstead; Jose Echeverrio, 28, of Westbury; and Raul Ponce, 20, of Hempstead.

Court records show Martines, Gudiel and Ponce pleaded not guilty at their arraignments this month, and Echeverrio struck a plea deal about three weeks ago by admitting to a felony charge of attempted criminal possession of a weapon.

The seizures during the initial vehicle stop led to searches at a home in Hempstead and another in Uniondale, where authorities recovered 16 small bags of cocaine, a revolver, firearm silencers and drug packaging materials, according to prosecutors.

Authorities on Wednesday identified Martines as the alleged leader of Hempstead’s Locos Salvatrucha clique of MS-13, and said Gudiel was believed to be a member of MS-13 and Echeverrio and Ponce were believed to be associates of the crime syndicate with ties to El Salvador.

Dennis Lopez’s attorney, Megan Rha, declined to comment Wednesday, as did Gudiel’s attorney, Christopher Shella, and Echeverrio’s attorney, Robert Zuflacht. Ponce’s attorney couldn’t be immediately reached.

Martines’ attorney, Luigi Vigliotti, said Wednesday he was “pretty confident that it’s a very defensible case” and added that his client denies being a gang member.

A fourth person is now facing a murder charge in the brutal machete slaying of a 15-year-old from Roosevelt, law enforcement officials announced Wednesday.


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