Why did an MS-13 gang member lure teens on Long Island to kill them: prosecutors

The four victims killed in an infamous MS-13 gang ambush were “just high school kids” who were “trying to look tough” by flashing gang signs, feds said at Monday’s trial of a Long Island suspect named “Little Devil.” .

Defendant Linez “Diablita” Escobar, 22, allegedly reported the notoriously vicious gang a “profound sign of disrespect” to victims — and lured young people to their deaths, all in an effort to win the heart of the killers, Assistant US Attorney Megan Farrell said during statements Editorial in the center of Islip.

“As they were killed, [the victims] They cried out in pain and filled the garden with their terrifying screams.”

The sole survivor of the 2017 massacre – identified by prosecutors only as “Alex” – was taking the stand on Monday.

“Alex wasn’t in the gang,” Farrell said. He wasn’t on MS-13, but he posted pictures of him and his friends holding up banners and posing as MS-13 members.

Linez Escobar allegedly lured four Long Island High School students to their death in order to obtain service with the MS-13 gang, according to prosecutors at her trial.
United States Attorney’s Office

“They were just kids in high school,” she said. “They were trying to appear tough and attract attention. MS-13 members saw these photos on social media and saw these photos as a profound sign of disrespect, enough to warrant death.

“The MS-13 crew came out of the darkness, shouting their orders to all get down to the ground,” she said. The accused pretended to be one of the victims and got down. The real victims took off running, but Alex was the only one who was fast enough to escape. The other four were beaten to death.”

Escobar faces charges of murder, racketeering and conspiracy on April 11, 2017, in an attack in Central Islip Park, where the victims’ bodies were later found.

MS-13 attack victims (from left) Justin Levicura, Jefferson Villalobos, Michael Lopez Banega and Jorge Tigre.
MS-13 attack victims (from left) Justin Levicura, Jefferson Villalobos, Michael Lopez Banega and Jorge Tigre.

The massacre killed Michael Lopez, 20, Justin Levicora, 16, Jorge Tigre, 18, and Jefferson Villalobos, 18, according to police.

At court, Escobar wore skinny black pants, a black shirt, and a white and black jacket with a zigzag pattern.

“Great day,” he heard her tell her lawyer once.

Police at the crime scene in Central Islip, New York, April 13, 2017.
Police at the scene of the murders in Central Islip, New York, April 13, 2017.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Funeral services for victim Justin Levicura are held in East Bachoge on April 19, 2017.
Funeral services for victim Justin Levicura are held in East Bachoge on April 19, 2017.
AP Photo/Frank Eltman, File

Farrell said Escobar “bragged about his important role in the murders” the next day and told her boyfriend that one of the victims survived.

“The day after the murders, she told her boyfriend that four trains had left but one had gone away,” Farrell said.

“She did it to be happy, so that she would be happy,” Escobar told her boyfriend.

Farrell said that Escobar lied to the police and tried to destroy evidence by throwing her mobile phone from a moving car when the police were after her.

Escobar's family and friends at trial in Federal Court in central Islip.
Escobar’s family and friends at trial before the Federal Court in Central Islip on March 21, 2022.
Dennis A. Clark

Alex, who showed up at the local police station with the troubled relatives of the victims to report their missing, later led the authorities into the bloody spectacle.

“[The victims] They were dragged,” Nassau County Detective Donal Britton testified on Monday. “Their shirts were pulled around their necks. They were lying on top of each other. There was a lot of blood. Yes, they are dead.”

Relatives of the victims sobbed in court when a picture of the murder scene was shown.

According to the prosecution, the victims were not in a gang and were only
According to the prosecutors, the victims were not in a gang and were only “trying to appear stern.”
Dennis A. Clark
Only one victim survived the attack on Long Island.
Only one victim survived the attack on Long Island.
Dennis A. Clark

Defense attorney Keith White said during his opening statements that his client did not know the victims would be attacked.

“Lines didn’t know many of the attackers or that these guys would be killed,” White said.

He said that Escobar’s companion, who allegedly helped lead the men to their deaths, as well as two of the accused attackers struck deals with prosecutors to testify in exchange for reduced sentences.

Escobar’s trial is expected to last three to four weeks.