Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Three Ñetas Gang Members Charged with Murdering Two 17-Year-Old Rival Gang Members

A two-count indictment was unsealed in federal court in Central Islip, New York, charging three alleged members of the Ñetas street gang—Luis Benitez, also known as “Lae”; Alvaro Cabral, also known as “Boobie”; and Jason Cabral, also known as “J-Live”—with the 2004 murders of Anthony Marcano and Fabian Mestres. All three defendants are in custody. Benitez will be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge E. Thomas Boyle at the U.S. Courthouse at 100 Federal Plaza in Central Islip, New York. Alvaro and Jason Cabral were arrested today in Tampa, Florida and will be arraigned in the Middle District of Florida. The case is assigned to United States District Court Judge Joanna Seybert.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.

According to the indictment and a detention letter filed today, the defendants were all members of the Ñetas and targeted one of the victims, Anthony Marcano, because of his affiliation with a rival gang, the Latin Kings. On August 10, 2004, at the direction of Jason Cabral, the leader of gang, the defendants devised a plan to rob and kill 17-year-old Marcano. As part of the plan, the defendants lured Marcano to a house in Brentwood. Marcano arrived at that house with 17-year-old Fabian Mestres, a fellow “Pee Wee” member of the Latin Kings street gang. Once inside the house, Marcano and Mestres were restrained with duct tape and their drugs, money. and jewelry were stolen. The victims were stuffed into the trunk of a car and taken to another location where Benitez, with the assistance of Alvaro Cabral, shot them with a shotgun. Mestres was shot once in the head, and Marcano was shot once in the head and once in the back of the neck. Marcano’s and Mestres’ bodies were found behind a warehouse in Queens the following day.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, or possibly the death penalty, on each of the two counts.

“These charges are particularly heinous because they involve the senseless murder of two adolescents,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “The passage of time in no way will lessen our commitment to ensuring that justice is served.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the Suffolk County Police Department, the Tampa Division of the FBI, and United States Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Florida, for their cooperation and assistance in the investigation. Ms. Lynch added that the government’s investigation is continuing.

FBI Assistant Director in -Charge Fedarcyk stated, “The murders of two teenagers are another example of the ruthless and senseless violence wrought by gangs. While we continue to work with community leaders, educators, and others to break this cycle of violence, we will also continue to identify, arrest, and prosecute gang members who commit crimes.”

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole Boeckmann and Christopher Caffarone.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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