An MS-13 gang member admitted Monday to taking part in what authorities described as the brutal machete slaying of a Roosevelt teenager whose remains were buried in concrete.
Dennis Lopez, 19, of Freeport, pleaded guilty in Nassau County Court to murder in the July 2017 death of Angel Soler, 15, in a deal that will send him to prison for 23 years to life.
Acting on a tip, law enforcement officials recovered Soler’s body in October 2017 in a wooded area on the border of Roosevelt and Baldwin, nearly three months after he went missing. Soler had last been seen on July 21, 2017, after leaving home on a bicycle.
His mother brought him to the United States from Honduras four years earlier to flee gang violence there, Newsday previously reported.
Members of MS-13 targeted Soler because of the gang's belief that he might have belonged to the rival 18th Street gang, according to police.
But Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement Monday that Lopez "helped lure an innocent teenager into the woods and mercilessly hacked him to death" before Soler's body "was found in a remote area and was effectively encased in concrete."
Acting State Supreme Court Justice Meryl Berkowitz committed to the 23-years-to-life sentence for Lopez based on the promise of a judge who handled the case previously.
Berkowitz set sentencing for July 18.
Lopez, who uses the street name “Maliante" and also is known as Elmer Guillen Marroquin, is among five people whom authorities charged in Soler’s killing.
Authorities have identified the other defendants, whose cases remain pending after not-guilty pleas, as: David Sosa-Guevara, 27, of Wyandanch; Victor Lopez, 31, of Roosevelt; Josue Figueroa-Velasquez, 19, of Freeport; and Kevin G. Lopez-Morales, 21, of Roosevelt.
Prosecutors also alleged previously that Dennis Lopez moved weapons, money and drugs for MS-13.
Before his July 2018 indictment in Soler’s slaying, he had been jailed since that February on conspiracy and weapon charges stemming from a separate indictment that prosecutors said dealt a “heavy blow” to MS-13.
As part of his deal Monday, Dennis Lopez pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and a weapon charge from that indictment. He also admitted being an MS-13 member.
The defendant’s appointed attorney, Megan Rha of Queens, declined to comment after court.