MINEOLA N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Juan Elias Garcia, a former MS-13 gang member involved in the 2010 killing of his 19-year-old girlfriend and her toddler son has been sentenced to life in prison.
Garcia, 22, of Inwood, along with other MS-13 gang members Adalberto Ariel Guzman and Rene Mendez Mejia, shot Vanessa Argueta and her two-year-old son, Diego Torres, in Central Islip on Feb. 5, 2010, according to officials.
Garcia asked Argueta to dinner, but instead lured her and the toddler into a wooded area in Central Islip, where they were shot to death by the two other gang members, the FBI said. Argueta was shot in the head and chest, and when the child clung to Garcia’s leg, the toddler was shot in the head as well, officials said.
Garcia, Guzman and Mejia fled to El Salvador after committing the murders. Guzman and Mejia were arrested in May 2010, with Guzman receiving a life sentence in prison, plus 60 years. Mejia’s sentence is still pending, according to officials.
The killings happened after Garcia was allegedly threatened by rival gang members to whom Argueta had ties, the FBI said.
Garcia willingly turned himself in to authorities in Nicaragua in March 2014, two days after the FBI put him on their Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List. He pleaded guilty to the charges in October 2014.