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Gang member says leader was out for revenge

Leaders of the MS-13 gang Heriberto Martinez, left,

Leaders of the MS-13 gang Heriberto Martinez, left, and Carlos Ortega, right, are scheduled to go on trial in federal court in Central Islip. Photo Credit: Handout

A turncoat member of the MS-13 street gang testified Thursday in federal court in Central Islip about his participation in the 2010 murder of a security guard in a Hempstead bar under orders from a gang leader.

Carlos Martinez, 22, of Far Rockaway, said he was told by Heriberto Martinez, 25, also of Far Rockaway, the leader of a clique, or gang chapter, that he was out to get revenge on the bouncer, Nestor Moreno, who had previously doused him in the face with pepper spray during a dispute over an unpaid tab for four beers. The two Martinezes are not related.

Gang leader Martinez said the murder plan was that another gang member "would shoot him and I would [first] open the door," Martinez testified in an unemotional tone that he kept through an entire day of questioning.

Martinez testified that the gang members all drove to the El Rancho bar in Hempstead, and while leader Martinez waited in a van, "I opened the door [of the bar] all the way. . . . I saw the security guard poking his head out and . . . [the other gang member] shot him."

Martinez also testified how Heriberto Martinez and another MS-13 member, Carlos Ortega, 23, of Brentwood, helped plot the murder of a fellow gang member, Mario Quijada, 25, of Far Rockaway, because he would not kill members of rival gangs as is required by the MS-13 code.

Ortega and gang leader Martinez are on trial in connection with five murders.

In his court testimony, Martinez backed up previous accounts of the slayings by other gang associates cooperating with the government and of Long Island detectives who investigated the cases along with the FBI.

In the killing of the fellow gang member, Martinez said Quijada was marked for death because he not only would not kill rival gang members, but also because he did not accurately tell MS-13 members when rival Hispanic gang members were at the place where he worked. The workplace, which was said to be where rivals hung out, was not identified.

Carlos Martinez has pleaded guilty in the murder of the Moreno and conspiracy to commit murder in the case of Quijada.

He said he is cooperating to avoid a life sentence.

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