CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) — A teenage member of the MS-13 gang pleaded guilty Thursday to charges she lured a 15-year-old boy to his death in 2019 on Long Island.
Lidia DelCarmen-Rodriguez, 19, pleaded guilty in federal court to a single count of aiding and abetting the murder of 15-year-old Jasson Medrano-Molina in Central Islip.
DelCarmen-Rodriguez, who was 16 at the time of Medrano-Molina’s death and was initially charged as a juvenile, is scheduled to be sentenced in January and could face decades in prison.
A message seeking comment was left with DelCarmen-Rodriguez’s lawyer.
According to prosecutors, DelCarmen-Rodriguez lured Medrano-Molina and two other people she and other MS-13 members believed to be rival gang members to a secluded wooded area in Central Islip.
There, prosecutors said, two other MS-13 members were waiting with a .40 caliber handgun and a baseball bat. Medrano-Molina and the others who were lured to the woods tried to run away, but Medrano-Molina couldn’t escape and was shot multiple times, prosecutors said.
U.S. Attorney Breon Peace called it a “despicable crime” and said it is his “sincere hope that the family of this young victim can find some solace in knowing that the individuals responsible for this crime have been brought to justice.”
An alleged co-conspirator, Jose Omar Sorto Portillo, pleaded guilty last October to murder in aid of racketeering for his participation in Medrano-Molina’s killing and is awaiting sentencing.
MS-13, also known as La Mara Salvatrucha, recruits young teenagers from El Salvador and Honduras, though many gang members were born in the U.S. The gang has been blamed for dozens of killings since January 2016 across a wide swath of Long Island.
The gang's influence and violence on Long Island has waned in recent years amid a federal crackdown.
Former President Donald Trump made rooting out MS-13 a focus of his administration and visited Long Island several times to meet with law enforcement officials and the families of the gang's victims.