Three MS-13 street-gang members from El Salvador are being held without bail on charges they forced a 16-year-old New York girl into the woods near a golf course, and two of them raped her while the third kept watch.
“This is one of the most brutal, heinous crimes that I have seen in a long, long time,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said at a news conference, according to New York’s WNBC-TV. “This poor young woman is so lucky that, quite frankly, that she is alive. These are vicious young men, vicious young men, and what they did to her was absolutely terrible.”
Spota, who said the attack was “barbaric,” identified the suspects as 17-year-old Jose Cornejo, 18-year-old Bryan Larios and 17-year-old Joel Escobar. All three of the MS-13 gang members, who are from El Salvador, were arrested May 29 just hours after the attack. They are being charged as adults.
MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, is a highly organized and well-funded Central American gang. In 2006, WND reported MS-13 had been infiltrating at least 33 states across the U.S. The gang is well-known in Los Angeles, Houston, New York and Washington, D.C., for excessive brutality. Any person suspected of cooperating with authorities is hunted down, tortured and killed. Initiation rites include kickings, beatings and gang rapes.
MS-13 relies on metropolitan areas with highly concentrated populations of illegal immigrants to boost its spreading membership. Chapters require that initiates perform random acts of violence, such as participating in gang rapes, to gain acceptance.
WND also reported in April that the Obama administration had begun implementing a program to fly to the United States at taxpayer expense unaccompanied minors from the Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras if the “children” under 21 have a parent legally residing in the U.S. While there is no confirmation these individuals were brought to the U.S. as a part of that program, they would have qualified as “unaccompanied alien children” if they had parents in the states. New York was identified as one of five states with the most “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” through March 22, 2013.
Just last year, many high-profile personalities and church groups urged Americans to have compassion for unaccompanied illegal-immigrant “children” coming to the U.S. from Central America. During the surge, many MS-13 gang members were spotted in the crowds of minors coming across the border. The mainstream media circulated photos of “children” in detention centers such as the following:
“Millions in aid arrived at the border in the form of teddy bears, soccer balls, food, and other supplies,” wrote American Thinker’s M. Catherine Evans. “The influx was billed as a ‘humanitarian crisis.’ Those who opposed the funding of this lawlessness were predictably called ‘racist.'”
Evans added, “Unfortunately, the bleeding hearts and amnesty pushers passing out blankets at the border have put American lives in danger. The horrific rape is a reminder of the criminal element among the 52,000 unaccompanied children who entered our country illegally last year amid hyped and teary-eyed media reports.”
Last summer, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wrote a letter to Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., specifically warning that “MS-13, one of the world’s most notorious international gangs, has strong ties to several of the Central American countries from which these aliens are arriving.”
She blasted the Obama administration’s “refusal to properly verify that violent criminals are not among those entering the United States,” saying failing to do so “shows an alarming lack of concern for our homeland security.”
Border Patrol sources said MS-13 graffiti was left on holding-tank walls, and agents confirmed that MS-13 gang members were found among the crowds of illegals coming across the border in 2014.
According to National Review, Art Del Cueto, president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 2544 in Tucson, said even when Border Patrol agents recognize gang tattoos on illegal-alien minors, the border-crossers must be treated the same as anyone else in the crowd.
“It’s upsetting that a lot of them are 16 or 17 years old and a lot of them are not going to face deportation,” Cueto said.
In the New York case, the suspects’ attorneys reportedly entered “not guilty” pleas to the grand jury indictment charging the gang members with rape, assault, sexual abuse, robbery and other crimes, according to WNBC-TV. Larios’ attorney told the station his client was not involved, and Escobar’s attorney provided no comment. Cornejo’s attorney said he’s still examining the charges.
The victim reportedly spotted a tattoo on Cornejo’s chin depicting distinctive skull and flames, and police recognized the suspect based on the description. When authorities went to arrest Cornejo, he reportedly tried to jump out of a window.
The gang members are also accused of robbing and beating the girl’s male friend at a Brentwood middle school. Then they allegedly ordered the teen girl to walk to a remote part of the Brentwood Country Club golf course after telling her they had a weapon.
Prosecutors say Larios kept watch while Cornejo and Escobar raped the 16-year-old, who was later spotted by golfers as she emerged from the woods nearly naked.
District Attorney Lawrence Opisso said he didn’t believe any of the three gang members attended school.
Escobar – and another suspected MS-13 gang member – was also charged with robbing and beating a man on April 28 at the Brentwood middle school, WNBC-TV reported. He allegedly threatened the victim to prevent him from reporting the attack. Escobar pleaded not guilty to those charges, too.