Alleged Flushing gang head indicted

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Ten suspected members of the MS-13 gang were charged last week with violent crimes involving baseball bats and machetes, but the indictment read in Brooklyn federal court also provided a picture of rivalries played out on the streets of Flushing.

The 10 men are part of the international crime syndicate known as La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, according to U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. Eight of the men were nabbed early last Thursday and two were already incarcerated, according to the court.

“Members of MS-13 have established their presence in the New York area not by seeking to join society as productive members, but through murder, racketeering and brutal acts of violence,” Lynch said. “Aimed primarily at rival gang members, their violence will nevertheless extend to anyone in their way.”

The gang is responsible for numerous shootings, stabbings, machete attacks and violent beatings over the past several years, according to Lynch.

The Flushing chapter of the El Salvador-based gang is known as Guanacos Little Cycos Salvatruchas and was run by an 18-year-old named Christian “Casper” Merino, the U.S. attorney said.

Merino and other MS-13 members carried out attacks against other gangs who operate in the neighborhood, including the Bloods, the Surenos, the Original Flushing Crew and the 18th Street Gang, Lynch said.

In one instance days after a Sept. 24 attempted murder, Merino was recorded on the phone describing the incident, which involved a fight between Merino’s crew and another group.

“We went back to get them afterwards,” Merino said, according to court documents. “Oh, man, we got them good loco ... if he’s not in the hospital, he’s dead!”

In another instance, MS-13 members conspired to murder someone who had slashed one of their alleged members, 19-year-old Kevin “Stalker” Cardona, in the face.

“We are going to go and get the primo who cut Stalker, do you understand?” Merino said in a wiretapped conversation, according to court documents.

Several of the gang members were arrested with weapons described in the 17-count indictment.

Officers recovered a loaded .25-caliber pistol, a revolver, two pellet guns and MS-13 propaganda, court documents said.

Abraham “Lobo” Iraheta used a machete in a 2009 attempted murder, the U.S. attorney said, and when Iraheta was arrested last Thursday morning, officers found a machete.

Iraheta also threatened an NYPD detective with a baseball bat last month, shouting “Shoot me, I’m going to f--k you up,” according to court documents.

That did not sit well with Police Commissioner Ray Kelley.

“The only people who should be wielding baseball bats in Flushing are Mets, not MS-13,” he said.

Other members of the gang included Wilber “Doofy” Baires, 20; Jose “Travieso” Barrera, 23; Rudy “Darky” Guembes-Lorena, 27; Jose “Pirata” Celestino Guillen-Rivas, 31; Carlos “Morro” Hernandez, 20; and Alex “Negro” Machado, 21.

Merino, Cardona, Hernandez and Machado could face up to life behind bars, according to Lynch.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Posted 7:52 pm, January 11, 2012
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Reader feedback

TheLastVoice from Flushing says:
Lets give a great cheer to our police department and Commissioner Kelly for their great work. To often we take for granted that while we sleep there is an active underworld. However, there is a supply and demmand for more police in the City of New york and this budget should not be cut. First, The fiscal disributions should be examined. We don't need another park or another Library. We need more investigative action on illigal after hous clubs and massage parlors, un-ethical real estate practices, un-ethical Bank Lending practice, red-lining practice, illigal home coversions, illigal home occupancy, illigal carting, illigal gambling transportation vehicles, illigal commercial parking, illigal churches, illiagal tax evation, illigal foodstamp recipiets, illigal church basement abortions, Prostitution via car service, illigal business,etc, and rampant mis-management of government funds specially in the Queens Borough where the american people were once the homeowners and business owners and are now the garbage can hunters.
Jan. 23, 2012, 3:37 pm

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