MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney announced today that two alleged members of the MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha) gang were arraigned today on a grand jury indictment charges of Murder in the Second Degree for two separate homicides.
Josue Figueroa-Velazquez, 19, and Kevin Lopez-Morales, 21, were arraigned today before Acting Supreme Court Justice Patricia Harrington and charged with two counts each of Murder in the Second Degree (an A-I felony).
The defendants pleaded not guilty and were remanded. Figueroa-Velazquez is due back in court on November 14 and Lopez-Morales is due back in court on November 15. If convicted the defendants face a potential maximum of 25 years to life in prison on each charge.
“These defendants allegedly lured their teenage victims into the woods on two separate occasions and ruthlessly hacked them to death because of perceived slights to their gang,” DA Singas said. “We are working day and night with law enforcement agencies nationwide to eradicate MS-13 and to end their victimization of our immigrant neighbors.”
DA Singas said that on September 4, 2016, Figueroa-Velazquez and Lopez-Morales, acting with others, allegedly struck Josue Amaya Leonor with a machete multiple times, killing him. The defendants allegedly buried Leonor’s body, which was recovered in May 2018, in a wooded area of the Roosevelt Preserve. Co-defendant Jose Daniel Lopez, 19, was arraigned on September 6, 2018 on a grand jury indictment charge of Murder in the Second Degree. The investigation is ongoing.
It is also alleged that the defendants, acting with other apprehended individuals, murdered 15-year-old Angel Soler on July 21, 2017. The victim’s body was mutilated, bearing injuries consistent with the use of a machete, and he suffered blunt force trauma to the head. The victim was left buried until his remains were discovered under cement in October 2017 in a remote wooded area in Roosevelt, just south of the Southern State Parkway. Co-defendants David Sosa-Guevera, Victor Lopez and Dennis Lopez were previously indicted on murder charges related to the killing of Soler.
Both victims were allegedly murdered because they were perceived to be enemies of MS-13.
Kevin Lopez-Morales was arrested by members of the Nassau County Police Department on September 6, 2018. Josue Figueroa-Velazquez was arrested on May 29, 2018, by members of the NCPD.
The NCDA thanks Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the NCPD for their assistance in this case.
Assistant District Attorney Jared Rosenblatt, Deputy Chief of DA Singas’ Major Offense Bureau, is prosecuting this case. Figueroa-Velazquez is represented by Martin Goldberg, Esq. and Lopez-Morales is represented by Brian Carmody, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.