By Joe Anuta
The leader of a violent, international gang’s Flushing chapter was sentenced to three decades behind bars, federal authorities said Tuesday.
Hector Aleman Lemos ran the Queens-based cell of La Mara Salvatrucha, better known as MS-13, an El Salvador-based gang responsible for narcotics trafficking, robbery, extortion and murder throughout North and South America, according to prosecutors in Brooklyn federal court.
“As a member and leader of MS-13, Lemos spread death and destruction throughout his community,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “No one in his orbit was safe from the violence that accompanied him, including an innocent bystander who paid with his life for nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and a 13-year-old boy who thankfully survived his encounter with Lemos.”
The 32-year-old, known as “Diablito,” pleaded guilty to racketeering and murder conspiracy charges in March, the prosecutor’s office said.
According to Lynch, his Flushing chapter was responsible for murder, murder conspiracy and attempted murder in the neighborhood and beyond.
She referred specifically to the 2007 slaying of John Halley in Yonkers, N.Y., where Lemos shot the 25-year-old, believing him to be part of a rival gang. Halley was not.
In addition, the kingpin shot a 13-year-old who was standing on the stoop of a Flushing home because he suspected it was a rival gang hangout, prosecutors said.
“Today, Lemos received the significant jail term called for by his actions, which will bring justice to the gang’s victims and their families,” Lynch said, pointing out that the sentence is also a message that her office “will continue to vigorously prosecute [MS-13] members and work to dismantle its operations in this district.”
Lemos was also sentenced to three years post-release supervision, but the busted bigwig is a citizen of El Salvador and may be subject to deportation upon his release, according to authorities.
The criminal outfit has a large presence in immigrant communities in Queens and Long Island, Lynch said, and also has a history of killing innocent people in Flushing they mistake for rivals.
In February 2010, an MS-13 member was sentenced to 38 years in prison after pleading guilty to the 2006 Christmas Eve murder of a 15-year-old boy he mistook for a member of the rival Bloods gang outside of John Bowne HS.
In March 2011, two MS-13 members were convicted of the 2007 murder of 21-year-old Flushing resident Maurice Parker, whom they mistook for a rival gang member.
In January 2012, 10 members of MS-13 were charged with various crimes in Flushing, including violent murders, the FBI said.
In March 2012, three reputed members of MS-13 were shot in the parking lot of a Wendy’s in Jamaica by members of the Latin Kings, District Attorney Richard Brown told TimesLedger Newspapers.
According to Lynch, since 2002 her office has convicted more than 200 members of the syndicate, including more than 24 clique leaders.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.