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Posted on: January 27, 2023

Hempstead MS-13 Leader Convicted of Murder for January 2017 Hacking

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19-year-old Julio Cesar Espantzay-Gonzales was lured into Massapequa Preserve with the promise of drugs and sex; Defendant Carlos Portillo ordered murder and provided co-defendants with gun and machete; Portillo was high-ranking member of Indios Locos Salvatrucha clique of MS-13 at the time of the killing

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced that a high-ranking MS-13 member has been convicted for his role in the January 2017 murder of a teenager deemed to be an enemy of the gang. 

Carlos Portillo, a/k/a Solitario and Pikachu, 28, was convicted yesterday after a jury trial of Murder in the Second Degree (an A-I felony). The defendant is due back in court before Judge Helene Gugerty for sentencing on March 7, 2023. He faces a potential maximum of 25 years to life in prison. 

The trial started on January 17 and closing statements occurred on January 25. The jury deliberated for approximately three hours. 

“High-ranking MS-13 member Carlos Portillo ordered the murder of an innocent 19-year-old man, simply because he wore the wrong color,” DA Donnelly said. “Portillo provided a gun and a machete for the gruesome task and instructed his gang subordinates on how and where to kill Espantzay-Gonzales. I thank our prosecutors and the detectives at the Nassau County Police Department and New York City Police Department for their assistance in bringing this dangerous defendant to justice. 

Co-defendants Kevin Granados-Coreas, Antonio Cullal and Raul Ponce have previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the murder of Espantzay-Gonzales. Coreas, A/K/A Lonely, was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison, Cullal, A/K/A Duke, was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison, and Ponce, A/K/A Shadow, was sentenced to 32 years to life in prison.  

The cases against co-defendants Roberto Abrego Reyes, Gerson Stanley Juarez, and Laura Campos are pending. 

DA Donnelly said that, according to the indictment, in January 2017, seven gang members allegedly planned the murder of 19-year-old Julio Cesar Espantzay-Gonzales, a perceived enemy of MS-13.

The victim allegedly wore the wrong color when invited to a known gang location prior to his murder. 

According to the indictment, Granados-Coreas allegedly told co-defendants Abrego-Reyes, Portillo and Cullal that Espantzay-Gonzales was an enemy of the gang. Abrego-Reyes, as the alleged leader of the Indios Locos Salvatrucha (ILS) clique of MS-13, gave the order to Portillo – the second-in-command of the clique – that Espantzay-Gonzales must be killed. 

Portillo organized the gang members, instructed them on how and where to kill Espantzay-Gonzales, and provided them with a car, a gun and a machete. 

Espantzay-Gonzales was lured to the Massapequa Preserve on January 28, 2017, with promises of sex and marijuana. To lure him to the preserve, one of the gang members allegedly pretended to befriend him.    

Once inside the preserve, Granados-Coreas, Cullal, Ponce, and Juarez allegedly hacked Espantzay-Gonzales to death with a machete. The 19-year-old was also shot in the face. The victim’s body was left under tree branches, leaves, and other brush. 

Campos allegedly drove the defendants to and from the murder scene.

Espantzay-Gonzales’s body was discovered on March 23, 2017, by a man walking his dog in the preserve.

Portillo was arrested by members of the Nassau County Police Department’s Homicide Squad in July 2017. 

Deputy Bureau Chief Katie Zizza of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau and Deputy Bureau Chief Daryl Levy of the Homicide Bureau are prosecuting this case. The defendant is represented by Joseph LoPiccolo, Esq. 

The charges against the other defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.

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