A high-ranking MS-13 leader was indicted on Friday for a March 2017 Hempstead murder, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced.
Ramon Martines, 36, of Hempstead, was arraigned on charges of second-degree murder, first-degree conspiracy and second-degree conspiracy, Nassau officials said.
He was remanded and is due back in court on Jan. 31, prosecutors said.
Martines faces a maximum of 50 years to life in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.
“MS-13 has waged war on our immigrant communities and with this arrest, we’ve removed an alleged clique leader and made our communities safer,” Singas said in a statement.
The announcement came hours before Suffolk County officials announced that nearly 100 MS-13 gang members and associates, including nine area leaders, were charged with criminal offenses including conspiracy to commit murder and drug trafficking, in the largest takedown of the dangerous street gang in the state’s history.
Prosecutors in the Martines case said the defendant — allegedly the head of the Hempstead Locos Salvatrucha clique of MS-13 — drove from Uniondale to Hempstead looking to kill a member of the rival 14th Street Gang in retaliation for an assault on an MS-13 member.
Martines, acting in concert with others, circled the area several times before spotting 39-year-old Nelson Rodriguez of Hempstead, who was walking west on Front Street after work at an auto body shop, prosecutors said.
Though Rodriguez was not a member of the rival gang, Martines allegedly ordered Pedro Rivera to kill the victim because he was perceived as an enemy, prosecutors said.
Rivera walked up the street, passed the victim, and then turned around and shot Rodriguez in the head. When the victim fell to the ground, Rivera shot him in the back, prosecutors said.
Co-defendants Rivera and Carlos Flores were convicted for their roles in the murder and were sentenced to 50 years to life in prison in October, officials said.
Co-defendant Hector Lazo’s case is pending sentence, officials said.