Federal prosecutors Thursday accused the MS-13 gang of indiscriminate killing in its war for power on the streets as the trial of two Long Island men for a drive-by shooting in Queens went to the jury.
Julio "Flecha" Chavez, 25, of Huntington, and Oscar "Taz" Fuentes, 30, of Huntington Station, are charged with murder in aid of racketeering in the 2007 shooting of Maurice Parker, 21, in front of a bodega in Flushing. Prosecutors say Parker was killed because he was mistaken for a member of the rival Bloods gang.
"Maurice Parker is dead because of the gang MS-13 -- because Julio Chavez's and Oscar Fuentes' respect on the street was more important than Maurice Parker's life," prosecutor Shreve Ariail told the jury. "Your life was worth nothing if you were walking down the wrong street with the wrong colors while these men were hunting 'chavalas' [rivals]."
Parker was standing next to a friend wearing a red sweatshirt, the Bloods colors. The friend escaped, but Parker was shot six times -- three times in the head. Chavez is accused of being the shooter, and Fuentes with driving the getaway car.
The government's case relied on three MS-13 members who have agreed to cooperate -- two men who said they were in the car with Chavez and Fuentes, and a third who supplied the car. Defense lawyers said the informants were framing the defendants to earn leniency from the government.
"These people may not have a formal education," said Chavez's lawyer Sam Schmidt. "But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that when you say 'Flecha' and the questions stop -- that must be the way to go."
Both men face up to life in prison if convicted. Jury deliberations are scheduled to begin Monday.