A Ronkonkoma man who was a member of the Netas street gang was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison for killing two rival gang members with shotgun blasts to their heads after abducting them from a house in Brentwood in 2004.
Judge Joanna Seybert of U.S. District Court in Central Islip acknowledged that Luis Benitez, 37, had a troubled childhood, mental health issues and drug and alcohol problems.
But, she added, "It was your choice to pull the trigger and kill two people." She noted that the presenting report from the Probation Department had recommended a sentence of 50 years in prison.
Benitez apologized to the families of the two victims, saying: "Nothing, nothing I can do can make peace in their hearts. . . . Your honor, for many years I lived tormented by what I've done."
The Netas gang leader who planned the abduction, Jason Cabral, 38, was sentenced in November to 37 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder. His brother, Alvaro Cabral, 27, was sentenced in January to 28 years in prison on a murder charge. Stephanie DiCarlo-Cabral, 31, Alvaro Cabral's girlfriend at the time, was sentenced in February to 12 years in prison on robbery and weapons charges.
The brothers and DiCarlo-Cabral lived in Central Islip at the time of the murder, but fled to Florida, where they were arrested eight years later, in 2012, after a tip, authorities said.
Prosecutors said in a news release in November that they finally solved the murders after getting "one slender lead." They refused to elaborate Monday.
The defendants were brought back to New York and pleaded guilty last year. They admitted luring Anthony Marcano, 17, to the house in Brentwood because he was a marijuana dealer for a rival gang and they wanted to rob him, prosecutors said.
Marcano brought along Fabian Mestres, also 17. Both were "Pee Wee" or junior members of the MS-13 street gang, officials said.
Marcano's mother, Sandra Martinez, told the judge Monday that she had "a pain that won't go away. . . . There are days I don't want to face the world." Mestres' mother, Migdalia Mestres, listened to the proceeding through a Spanish interpreter.
When Marcano and Mestres got to the Brentwood house they were robbed of cash and several thousand dollars' worth of marijuana. They were restrained with duct tape in a car trunk, prosecutors said.
They were driven around Brooklyn and Queens before the car stopped near a vacant warehouse in the Ridgewood section of Queens. There, the men were taken from the trunk and Benitez shot them.
Their bodies were wiped clean of possible fingerprints and DNA evidence, prosecutors said.