MS-13 Leader Pleads Guilty For Killing 8, Including Pair Of Teen Girls

(Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP via Getty Images)

Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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Alexi Saenz, an MS-13 gang leader known by nicknames “Blasty” and “Planky” pleaded guilty to racketeering charges relating to eight murders Wednesday to a New York federal court, a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release said.

Saenz, the 29-year-old who led the Sailors Locos Salvatruchas Westside chapter of the notorious gang, also pleaded guilty to participation in three attempted murders, arson, narcotics trafficking and firearm charges, the DOJ said. (RELATED: Feds Nab Alleged International Gang Leader)

The DOJ said this string of murders commissioned by Saenz occurred from 2016-2017 and involved the brutal killings of a pair of female high school students. Members of the gang got Saenz’s permission to kill the girls, the press release read. The gang proceeded to bash and slash 15-year-old Nisa Mickens and 16-year-old Kayla Cuevas to death with baseball bats and a machete, the DOJ said.

“To say that Alexi Saenz’s hands are drenched in blood does not begin to describe the multiple killings and extreme mayhem he personally directed and committed in the span of one year in Suffolk County,” Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York said, the press release read.

“As a result of the exceptional work of this Office’s prosecutors and the members of the Long Island Gang Task Force, the MS-13 has been decimated in the district and we will continue working tirelessly to hold every one of these violent gang members accountable for the crimes they have committed and harm they have caused,” the prosecutor added.

Saenz faces the prospect of being sentenced to between 40 to 70 years in prison, according to his plea agreement, the DOJ said. The DOJ in return for Saenz’s plea dropped its intention to seek the death penalty, CBS News reported.

The gang leader’s sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 31, 2025, according to the outlet. MS-13 is a notoriously violent gang formed in the 1980s by Salvadoran immigrants who fled a civil war in their home country, the outlet reported citing the DOJ. The criminal organization is known for its motto of “kill, rape, control” and for its importation of much of its membership through illegal immigration.

“I just want it [justice] done, they need to pay for it and other families, we cannot move forward,” Elizabeth Alvarado, the mother of Mickens, said, ABC 7 reported.