The federal government’s relentless assault on the feared MS-13 street gang in Greater Boston continued this week, with two members of the violent outfit admitting to their roles in the 2015 slaying of a 16-year-old boy in Lawrence, authorities said.
Oscar Recinos Garcia, 24, and Jose Andrade, 27, pleaded guilty to federal RICO-related charges in US District Court in Boston in the July 2015 killing of Jose Alexander Aguilar-Villanueva, according to legal filings and US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling’s office.
Recinos Garcia, also known as “Psycho,” pleaded guilty Wednesday, and Andrade, who goes by “Inocente,” copped his plea the day before, prosecutors said. Both men are Salvadoran nationals and members of the Everett Locos Salvatrucha, or ELS clique, of MS-13, according to Lelling’s office.
“The defendants admitted that their racketeering activity, on behalf of MS-13, included their involvement in the murder of [Aguilar-Villanueva] who was associated with MS-13 and wrongly suspected by the gang of cooperating with law enforcement,” Lelling’s office said in a statement.
Aguilar-Villanueva, also known as Fantasma, was found behind a bench at South Common Park in Lawrence with multiple stab wounds.
Prosecutors said Garcia and Andrade were involved in the planning of the murder, and two other men carried out the brutal crime.
“Andrade and Recinos Garcia are the 36th and 37th defendants, respectively, to be convicted in this case either after trial or after entering a guilty plea,” Lelling’s office said.
Sixty-one MS-13 members or affiliates were charged as part of the massive dragnet. Seventeen of the defendants were charged in connection to six murders, including the slaying of Aguilar-Villanueva.
Michael Tumposky, a lawyer for Recinos Garcia, said his client struggled with his decision to plead guilty.
“It was a very difficult decision for Oscar to make, but he is 24 years old and was facing possible life in prison after trial,” Tumposky said Wednesday in an e-mail. “At sentencing we will ask for something significantly less than what the Government is requesting.”
Recinos Garcia and Andrade both face sentencing in June. A plea agreement filed in Recinos Garcia’s case says the feds will recommend that he serve 24 years in prison.Milton J. Valencia of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.