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Long IslandCrime

MS-13 gang recruiter sentenced in coercion case, Suffolk district attorney says

Prosecutors said Juan Lopez, along with fellow gang members, confronted two young men in Huntington Station in April 2017, days after four bodies were found in Central Islip. 

Juan Lopez of Huntington Station was convicted by

Juan Lopez of Huntington Station was convicted by a jury in April of first-degree attempted coercion. Photo Credit: SCDA

An "enforcer" in the MS-13 gang was sentenced Tuesday for trying to recruit new members by threatening to kill those who refused, days after the bodies of four gang victims were discovered in Central Islip, authorities said.

Juan Lopez, 32, of Huntington Station, was given the maximum prison sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years after a jury in April convicted him of first-degree attempted coercion, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini's office said in a news release.

Lopez's attorney could not be reached Tuesday night.

Prosecutors said Lopez, along with fellow gang members, had confronted two young men at Manor Field Park in Huntington Station about 1 p.m. on April 16, 2017. 

That was five days after the bludgeoned and hacked bodies of four young men, the victims of MS-13 gang members, were found in a park on Clayton Street in Central Islip, authorities said.

The district attorney's office said Lopez threatened the two young men when they resisted, telling them, "This is how you end up dead in the park."

At least nine of the dozen or so alleged killers from MS-13 in the park deaths have been charged. Sini’s office said Lopez was not involved in those slayings.

"Today's sentence sends a significant message to MS-13 gang members that if they try to threaten the lives of young people in our community or intimidate them to get them to join this gang, we will send them to prison," Sini said.

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