An MS-13 member pleaded guilty to his involvement in the separate murders of four alleged gang rivals over a two-year period and burying the bodies in asuburb.
Raúl Ponce, 23, appeared before a Nassau County judge on Long Island and pleaded guilty to two second-degree murder and two second-degree manslaughter charges on Tuesday.
According to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, Ponce killed Bryan Lemus, 15, on August 23, 2016 and Julio Espantzay- González, 19, on January 28, 2017.
Ponce faces between 32 years to life in prison when he is sentenced January 25, 2022.
Raúl Ponce is looking at 32 years to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to two murders and two manslaughters that took place in the New York suburb of Long Island between 2016 and 2017
Bryan Lemus (pictured) was 15 years old at the time MS-13 gang members, including Raúl Ponce, lured him into a wooded area in in Long Island, New York, and hacked him to death on August 23, 2016
Julio Espantzay-González was killed by Raúl Ponce and fellow MS-13 gang members on January 28, 2017 in Long Island, New York
Lemus, who was perceived to be a member of a rival gang, was walking his dog when he was lured into the Massapequa Reserve by Ponce and several other members of the MS-13, including Ponce’s brother, Samuel Ponce, 20, and hacked to death with machetes.
Authorities located Lemus’s body buried inside a clandestine grave May 24, 2019.
Samuel Ponce was sentenced to life in prison on August 25.
Raúl Ponce also accepted responsibility for the killing of Espantzay-González, who was invited to Massapequa Reserve under the promise of sex and marijuana.
The killing, the Nassau County Police said at the time, was carried out under the orders of high-ranking MS-13 members Carlos Portillo and Roberto Abrego-Reyes because they considered Espantzay-González an enemy of the gang.
Ponce and four other MS-13 gang members took turns in hacking him with machetes.
Ponce was taken into custody June 6, 2019, before he was charged for the murders of Lemus and Espantzay-González.
‘Raúl Ponce and his co-defendants participated in the tragic murders of four people, targeted because they disrespected MS-13, were perceived enemies of the gang, or were caught up in this transnational gang’s senseless, unprovoked violence,’ Acting Nassau County District Attorney Joyce Smith said in a statement.
‘We remain committed to ridding this reprehensible violence from our communities and thank our many law enforcement partners, including the Nassau County Police Department, for their continued cooperation.’
Samuel Ponce was one of five MS-13 gang members who ambushed and murdered alleged rival Bryan Lemus, 18, on August 23, 2016.c
Smith added that Ponce pleaded guilty to manslaughter chargers in the killings of Nelson Rodríguez and Osmin Campos-Sandoval.
Ponce and other gang members drove from Uniondale to Hempstead on March 20, 2017, to look for a rival who had reportedly assaulted a MS-13 gang member.
Rodríguez, who did not have any gang affiliations, was gunned down by MS-13 gang member Pedro Rivera after leaving the auto body shop where he worked.
Ponce accepted responsibility for providing the weapon that was used to murder Campos-Sandoval on or around June 1, 2016.
Campos-Sandoval was lured into a wooded area near a water tower in Hempstead and was shot dead and stabbed with a machete. His remains were located October 6, 2020.
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