When the member of a notorious gang was arrested in Fort Lauderdale last week, he wasn’t far from where he allegedly participated in the murder of a man 16 years ago.
Sergio Kadafi Perera-Marenco’s arrest in the 2007 killing of fellow gang member Jose Stanley Cuellar Pineda has not brought the cold case to a close. A second gang member who was involved is still at large, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.
Perera Marenco, Cuellar Pineda and the at-large suspect belonged to MS-13, the Mara Salvatrucha 13 gang. It was created by Salvadorian immigrants who emigrated to the United States in the midst of warfare, some who knew how to use military weapons, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s profile on the gang.
“The gang is well-organized and is heavily involved in lucrative illegal enterprises, being notorious for its use of violence to achieve its objectives,” the department’s 2009 profile said.
On Jan. 14, 2007, Perera-Marenco, then 18, and the second suspect were with Cuellar Pineda in a beige 1996 Toyota. One of the suspects left the car and walked away while the other shot Cuellar Pineda, the Sheriff’s Office said. The then-35-year-old’s body was found near a canal by the 4300 block of Southwest 25th Street in central Broward.
The case went cold and was eventually reopened in December 2021 when detectives concluded that the three men were MS-13 members, the Sheriff’s Office said. Details about how the investigation led to Perera Marenco were not released, and his arrest warrant has been sealed.
Perera Marenco, now 34, was arrested Feb. 27 near the 600 block of Southwest 30th Terrace in Fort Lauderdale and is currently held in the Main Jail without bond on a count of first-degree murder with a firearm.
The other man involved was in his early 30s at the time of the murder with short, wavy hair and stood just over 5-feet tall, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Authorities ask anyone with information to call Cold Cast Unit Det. Andrew Gianino at 954-321-4376, submit a tip through the SaferWatch App or anonymously contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477, online at browardcrimestoppers.org or by dialing **8477 from any cellphone.
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