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Queens MS-13 Gang Leader Indicted for Ordering Hit on Rival Gang Member

Marcelo Esquivel, 31, of Jamaica Queens (back row middle) Photo courtesy of the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of New York

July 10, 2020 By Allie Griffin

A leader in the notorious international MS-13 gang has been indicted in federal court for ordering the murder of a member of the rival Latin Kings gang.

Marcelo Esquivel, 31, of Jamaica, Queens, is charged with murder in-aid-of racketeering in connection to the July 2, 2012 killing of Daniel Licona-Gonzalez.

Esquivel ordered the slaying of Licona-Gonzalez, 18, and provided the gun to the killer who carried out the hit, according to the federal indictment.

At the time, Esquivel, also known as “Profugo” and “Baby,” was the leader of the Centrales Locos Salvatruchas clique of MS-13 in Jamaica, Queens.

According to court documents, Esquivel directed two MS-13 members to murder Licona-Gonzalez and handed them the gun on July 2, 2012. One member was new to the gang and hoped to gain respect by carrying out the killing.

The two gang members hopped on a bicycle — with one peddling the bike and the other on the back — into Latin Kings territory, the documents state. When they spotted a group of men they believed were Latin Kings members, one of the MS-13 members yelled out “La Mara,” a reference to his gang, and shot Licona-Gonzalez in the head, according to the documents.

Licona-Gonzalez died the following day.

“Using the gun allegedly provided by Esquivel, two MS-13 gang members took the life of another human being,” stated Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Peter Fitzhugh. “A human life is a human life, regardless of gang affiliation, and gang on gang violence will not be tolerated.”

Esquivel was arrested Thursday. If convicted, he faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison and is eligible for the death penalty.

MS-13, also known as La Mara Salvatrucha, is based in El Salvador and Honduras, but the gang has thousands of members across the U.S.

Since 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York–which covers Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island– has investigated more than 45 murders in the district linked to MS-13. It has indicted and convicted dozens of leaders and members in connection to the murders.

“The Eastern District will continue to do everything possible to crush MS-13,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement.

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