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MS-13 leader gets 27-year sentence for 2015 murder of teenager

Multiple law enforcement agencies (Jsg2020/WikiCommons)
January 25, 2019

Yesterday a New York federal judge sentenced a member of the violent MS-13 gang to 27 years in prison for the 2015 murder of a 16-year-old.

William Castellanos, who goes by the gang names of “Dizzy” and “Satanico,” was handed down his sentence by United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco after entering a guilty plea in February to shooting and killing young Jonathan Cardona-Hernandez in Central Islip, according to the Justice Department.

Castellanos, along with two accomplices who were all members of the MS-15 faction Karlington Locos Salvatruchas (KLS), shot Hernandez at least 10 times, killing him.

The deadly trio targeted Hernandez on June 30, 2015 because they believed he was a member of a rival gang.

When he got out of a car, Hernandez was shot multiple times from behind by Castellanos with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun. Castellanos’ accomplices then shot Hernandez several more times with the same style handgun.

Leaving Hernandez dead in the road, the trio took off and had a meeting with a gang leader and made a call to El Salvador to confirm the murder had taken place.

Shortly after, Castellanos was promoted to leader of his gang, the KLS. He was arrested by the FBI in May 2016.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York said, “Castellanos brutally murdered Jonathan Cardona-Hernandez simply because he believed Cardona-Hernandez was a member of a rival gang. With today’s sentence, Castellanos will pay for this senseless crime.  The defendant’s conviction and punishment reflects the commitment of this Office and our law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate, prosecute and dismantle MS-13 and any other gang that terrorizes our communities.”

Geraldine Hart, Commissioner of the Suffolk County Police Department said, “The success of our collaborative efforts with our law enforcement partners is evident in today’s sentencing — the latest in a series holding MS-13 members accountable for their despicable crimes. The Suffolk County Police Department will continue to focus our resources on halting the violence that surrounds MS-13, and I would like to thank the Eastern District of New York and the Long Island Gang Task Force for their unwavering commitment to dismantling this violent street gang.”

Patrick J. Ryder, Commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department said, “The arrest, conviction and sentencing of defendant William Castellanos in connection with the 2015 murder of 16-year-old Jonathan Cardona-Hernandez is an excellent example of the professionalism and dedication of numerous law enforcement agencies that have worked tirelessly and collaborated on this case. Our residents and communities will be safer with defendant Castellanos incarcerated. Gangs and their heinous crimes can never be tolerated in any community and we are taking a proactive approach to keep our residents and police safe.”

Officials have been investigating, arresting, and prosecuting many MS-13 members in the New York area.

The MS-13, more formally known as Mara Salvatrucha, is an international criminal gang founded by Ernesto Miranda in 1980.

MS-13’s leadership is based in El Salvador and Honduras, but has scores of members in the U.S., who are primarily Central American immigrants.

The FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force has successfully obtained numerous indictments and convictions in more than 45 murders in the New York area.

The task force works in collaboration with the FBI, SCPD, NCPD, Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, Suffolk County Probation, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, Rockville Centre Police Department, the New York State Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.