A 55 year jail term has been affirmed for a member of the MS -13 gang by the US appeals court. He was instrumental in organising the killings in a Long Island Park of 4 teenagers when he was just 15.
Josue Portillo now 19, was observed by a panel of the Second US Court of Appeals as an example of the unfortunate consequences of the decision taken by the Congress that did away with parole for federal prisoners who were sentenced in or after the year 1987. He was a member of the M-13 gang. The ruling was written by Judge Jon Newman.
Portillo’s attorney Joseph Ryan Jr. said that the second circuit court had wrongly decided that the sentence was appropriate. Tax payer money of more than US$ 2 Million will be spent on Portillo in keeping him behind bars till the age of 71 when he will be freed and sent to El Salvador.
He had pleaded guilty in the massacre of April 2017. The crime was planned for weeks the instigation being that the youth who wasn’t a member of MS – 13 had acted as if he was by flashing the symbol of the gang. The appeals court recognised the crime as heinous and noted how Portillo was an active part of it. He teenager they were targeting had escaped but the others met their end through the M- 13 gang members who were armed with knives, machetes, axe and clubs which had been made using tree limbs.
Long Island has been hard hit by a spate of crimes organised by the MS – 13. A series of over 12 murders have been linked to a group called La Mara Salvatrucha. This group is known to recruit youths from Honduras and El Salvador.