José Jonathan Guevara-Castro, also known as “Suspechoso” (Guevara-Castro), alleged member of the violent transnational criminal organization La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as “MS-13”, and fugitive from the justice, was extradited yesterday from El Salvador to the United States. Guevara-Castro, who was arrested in Acajutla, Sonsonate, El Salvador on August 13, 2020, has been held pending extradition to the United States, which was officially authorized by the Supreme Court of Justice of El Salvador on August 12 July 2022. Guevara-Castro was originally charged with the murder of 20-year-old Kerin Pineda in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Central Islip on July 9, 2020. Guevara-Castro is expected to stand trial this after- noon before the United States Magistrate Judge. Arlene R. Lindsay.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, John J. Durham, Director, Joint Task Force Vulcan (JTFV), and Michael J. Driscoll, Deputy Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the arrest and extradition.
“Guevara-Castro’s extradition demonstrates the determination of this office and law enforcement to bring to justice all gang members who commit violent crimes in our district, no matter where in the world they may run and try. to hide,” the U.S. peace attorney said. . “I hope the return of the defendant to a federal courtroom on Long Island where he will be held accountable for a vicious murder will bring some closure to the young victim’s family.”
Mr. Peace expressed his gratitude to the investigators and analysts of the Centro Antipandillas Transnacional (CAT) unit of the Policía Nacional Civil (PNC) of El Salvador, who are assigned to the Transnational Anti-Gang Unit (TAG), for their outstanding cooperation in locating and apprehending this fugitive. In addition, Mr. Peace thanked members of the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), as well as the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the International Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Justice. (OIA), for their partnership in this matter.
Guevara-Castro is currently charged in a 24-count indictment, along with seven other MS-13 members and associates, with racketeering, murder and drug trafficking offences. Guevara-Castro was specifically accused of participating in the murder of Pineda, who is believed to be a member of the 18th Street gang, one of MS-13’s main rivals. Pineda’s murder was committed as part of a joint venture between two different subgroups, or “cliques,” of MS-13 operating on Long Island: the Hollywood Locos Salvatruchas (Hollywood) clique, of which Guevara-Castro was a alleged member; and the Sailors Locos Salvatruchas Westside (Sailors) clique. On May 21, 2016, members of MS-13, armed with machetes, lured Pineda to a remote wooded area near the Merrick-Freeport border, where he was surrounded and violently attacked. Pineda’s machete-mutilated corpse was then buried in a hole dug the day before. Pineda’s corpse was found over a year later.
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the accused and his co-accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If convicted, Guevara-Castro faces life in prison.
This extradition is the latest in a series of federal prosecutions by USAO-EDNY targeting members and associates of MS-13, a violent transnational criminal organization. MS-13’s leadership is based in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico, but the gang has thousands of members across the United States. With numerous branches, or “cliques”, MS-13 is Long Island’s most violent criminal organization. Since 2003, hundreds of MS-13 members, including dozens of clique leaders, have been convicted of federal crimes in the Eastern District of New York. The majority of these MS-13 members have federal racketeering convictions for participating in murders, attempted murders, and assaults. Since 2010, this office has obtained indictments charging MS-13 members and associates with more than 60 murders in the district, and has convicted dozens of MS-13 leaders, members, and associates in connection with these murders. These prosecutions are the product of investigations by the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force, made up of agents and officers from the FBI, SCPD, Nassau County Police Department, Sheriff’s Department Nassau County, Suffolk County Probation Office, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Hempstead Police Department, Central Rockville Police Department, and Department of Corrections and New York State Community Supervision.
This survey was conducted in partnership with Joint Task Force Vulcan (JTFV). The primary purpose of the JTFV is to coordinate and direct Justice Department and US law enforcement efforts against MS-13 in order to dismantle the group.
The government’s case is being handled by the Bureau’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Paul G. Scotti, Justina L. Geraci and Megan E. Farrell are leading the prosecution, with assistance from Assistant District Attorney Jared Rosenblatt of the Nassau County Attorney’s Office.
JOSE JONATHAN GUEVARA-CASTRO (also known as “Suspechoso”)
Age: 27 years old
Acajutla, Sonsonata, El Salvador; formerly of Roosevelt, New York, and Annapolis, Maryland
EDNY File No. 20-CR-251 (JMA)