Luis Alejandro Varela was among those charged in a fatal...

Luis Alejandro Varela was among those charged in a fatal machete attack in August 2017.  Credit: Newsday

Two MS-13 members have pleaded guilty in the 2017 Uniondale machete slaying of a fellow gang member, Nassau County prosecutors said.

Luis Alejandro Varela, 24, of Mineola, and William Reyes-Fuentes, 27, of Uniondale, pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder and second-degree conspiracy before Judge Teresa Corrigan in Nassau County court for the August 2017 murder of Carlos Rivas-Majano, who was hacked to death, prosecutors said in a news release.    

Rivas-Majano, 22, who was part of MS-13 police said at the time, told his family he was on his way home from a deli in Uniondale on Aug. 11, 2017, but he never returned, prosecutors said. Varela and Reyes-Fuentes are part of the “Downtown Criminals” clique of MS-13, who lured Rivas-Majano into the woods near the Meadowbrook State Parkway and Glenn Curtiss Boulevard in Uniondale, prosecutors said.

Rivas-Majano was targeted because of his cooperation with authorities, Newsday previously reported. Authorities found Rivas-Majano’s dismembered remains on Aug. 29, 2018, in a shallow grave while acting on a tip.

“For more than a year, Carlos Rivas-Majano’s family was left to speculate what had happened to him, until his body was recovered in a sump by the Meadowbrook Parkway,” county District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly said in a statement. “The defendants — Luis Alejandro Varela and William Reyes-Fuentes — were part of an MS-13 crew that lured the victim into that wooded area, beat him and killed him. We will continue to work with every law enforcement partner to rid our communities of this dangerous gang.”

Reyes-Fuentes’ lawyer, Steven Barnwell of Mineola, said his client “took responsibility for his actions and decided to enter a plea.” Varela’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

While Varela and Reyes-Fuentes face up to life in prison when they are expected to be sentenced on Aug. 9, they were among five people named in the July 2021 indictment. Cases remain pending for Carlos Benitez-Hernandez of Uniondale, and Jose Quintanilla-Cruz and Nerlin Chacon-Ruano, both of Hempstead.

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