Juan Elias "Cruzito" Garcia, 21, a reputed member of the
murderous international gang known as MS-13, was taken into
custody when he voluntarily returned to the United States to
face criminal prosecution, the Federal Bureau of Investigation
said in a press release.
Garcia, who has ties to El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras,
Guatemala and Panama, is accused in the execution-style shooting
of the mother and child in Central Islip, New York, authorities
His surrender on Friday — just two days after being put on the
most wanted list — was the result of a coordinated effort
between Nicaraguan authorities and U.S. law enforcement, which
sent aircraft to bring Garcia to New York, the FBI said.
Victims in the double murder were Garcia's girlfriend Vanessa
Argueta, 19, and her son, Diego Torres, 2.
After a lovers' quarrel, Garcia was threatened by rival gang
members, who he said used information that he believed was
provided by Argueta, the FBI said.
Garcia and two fellow gang members got permission from their
leader to retaliate against the woman. She and her son were shot
dead after being lured to a wooded area in February 2010, the
When the boy saw his mother killed, he started crying and was
hit by a bullet that knocked him down, the FBI said.
"Torres got back up and clutched onto Garcia's leg," when a
second shot was fired, striking the boy in the head and killing
him, the FBI said.
Fellow accused gang members Adalberto Ariel Guzman and Rene
Mendez Mejia are awaiting sentencing after Mejia pleaded guilty
to the murders and Guzman was found guilty at trial, the FBI
Their reputed gang leader, Heriberto Martinez, has been
sentenced to three life terms, plus 60 years, in prison for
multiple convictions that include murder, racketeering and
conspiracy, the FBI said.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; editing by Gunna Dickson)
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