Alleged MS-13 gang member extradited from El Salvador for 2016 murder of 20-year-old man

Kerin Pineda who was allegedly killed by MS-13 gang members
Kerin Pineda who was allegedly killed by MS-13 gang members Photo credit Nassau County Police Department

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — A man who is accused of participating in the brutal murder of a rival gang member on Long Island has been extradited back to the United States after being arrested in El Salvador, authorities said Tuesday.

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The 27-year-old, José Jonathan Guevara-Castro, also known as “Suspechoso,” is an alleged member of the violent transnational criminal organization La Mara Salvatrucha, also called the “MS-13.”

“The extradition of Guevara-Castro demonstrates the resolve of this Office and law enforcement to bring to justice all gang members who commit violent crimes in our district no matter where in the world they may run and try to hide,” stated United States Attorney Breon Peace. “I hope the return of the defendant to a federal courtroom on Long Island where he will be held accountable for a vicious murder will bring some measure of closure to the family of the young victim.”

Back in 2016, Guevara-Castro and other members of the gang allegedly lured 20-year-old Kerin Pineda to a secluded wooded area near the Merrick-Freeport border. Pineda was surrounded and violently attacked. His machete-mutilated corpse was then buried in a hole that had been dug the day before and was not found until a year later, authorities said.

Pineda’s murder was allegedly committed as a joint effort between two different subgroups, or “cliques,” of the MS-13 operating on Long Island: the Hollywood Locos Salvatruchas (Hollywood) clique, which Guevara-Castro was a part of and the Sailors Locos Salvatruchas Westside (Sailors) clique. Pineda was believed to be a part of the 18th Street gang, one of MS-13’s rivals, court documents show.

Guevara-Castro was originally charged with Pineda’s murder by a federal grand jury in Central Islip on July 9, 2020. Guevara-Castro is currently being charged in a 24-count indictment, along with seven other MS-13 members and associates, with racketeering offenses, murder and narcotics trafficking. If convicted, he faces life in prison.