Metro

MS-13 gang leader sentenced for racketeering connected to multiple murders

An MS-13 gang leader from Somerville was sentenced Thursday on racketeering charges in connection to six murders, including the killing of a 16-year-old boy in East Boston in 2016, federal prosecutors said.

Jose Vasquez, 24, known by the street name “Little Crazy,” pleaded guilty in May to RICO conspiracy in connection to violent activities committed on behalf of MS-13 from 2014 to 2016, the US attorney’s office said in a statement.

He was sentenced in federal court in Boston to 212 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release.

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Vasquez, leader of the local MS-13 clique Trece Locos Salvatrucha, was one of 49 MS-13 members and associates convicted in a multi-year investigation targeting the gang’s criminal activities in Massachusetts, according to the US attorney’s office. Sixteen of the defendents were held responsible for murder, the statement said.

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In 2014, Vasquez and Angel Pineda, another MS-13 member, tried to murder a 16-year-old boy in Chelsea who they believed to be a rival gang member, according to prosecutors.

Pineda stabbed the boy multiple times, while Vasquez, who was carrying a machete, was unable to pull the long knife out of its sheath, prosecutors said. The boy survived, and Pineda was sentenced to nearly eight years in prison.

In a separate incident in 2016, Vasquez helped other MS-13 members bury evidence connected to the brutal murder of 16-year-old Cristofer Perez de la Cruz in East Boston, also believing him to be a rival gang member, authorities said.

Edwin Gonzalez, Jairo Perez, and Rigoberto Mejia were convicted for the murder and are awaiting sentencing. Edwin Diaz, who participated in the murder, was sentenced to 35 years in prison, prosecutors said.

Jackson Cote can be reached at jackson.cote@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jackson_k_cote.