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Posted on: April 5, 2023

Hempstead MS-13 Leader Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for January 2017 Murder

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Carlos Portillo ordered the murder of 19-year-old Julio Cesar Espantzay-Gonzales in the Massapequa Preserve; Portillo was high-ranking member of Indios Locos Salvatrucha clique of MS-13 at the time of the killing

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced that a high-ranking MS-13 member was sentenced today to 25 years to life in prison for his role in the January 2017 murder of a teenager in the Massapequa Preserve because he was a perceived enemy of the gang. 

Carlos Portillo, a/k/a Solitario and Pikachu, 28, was convicted on January 26, 2023, after a jury trial of Murder in the Second Degree (an A-I felony). He was sentenced today before Judge Helene Gugerty to 25 years to life in prison. The trial lasted approximately one week and the jury deliberated for approximately three hours. 

“Carlos Portillo, as a high-ranking member of the Indios Locos Salvatrucha clique of MS-13, orchestrated the execution of 19-year-old Julio Cesar Espantzay-Gonzales, providing weapons to murder him and sealing his fate,” said DA Donnelly. “The young man was brutally killed because he wore the wrong color around gang members. My prosecutors, working alongside the Nassau County Police Department and New York City Police Department, were able to hold this defendant accountable for his crimes and we will continue to use our combined resources to rid Nassau County of this dangerous gang.”

Co-defendants Kevin Granados-Coreas, Antonio Cullal and Raul Ponce have previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the murder of Espantzay-Gonzales. Coreas, A/K/A Lonely, was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison, Cullal, A/K/A Duke, was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison, and Ponce, A/K/A Shadow, was sentenced to 32 years to life in prison.  

The cases against co-defendants Roberto Abrego Reyes, Gerson Stanley Juarez, and Laura Campos are pending. 

DA Donnelly said that, according to the indictment, in January 2017, seven gang members allegedly planned the murder of 19-year-old Julio Cesar Espantzay-Gonzales, a perceived enemy of MS-13.

The victim allegedly wore the wrong color when invited to a known gang location prior to his murder. 

According to the indictment, Granados-Coreas allegedly told Abrego-Reyes, Portillo and Cullal that Espantzay-Gonzales was an enemy of the gang. Abrego-Reyes, as the alleged leader of the Indios Locos Salvatrucha (ILS) clique of MS-13, gave the order to Portillo – the second-in-command of the clique – that Espantzay-Gonzales must be killed. 

Portillo organized the gang members, instructed them on how and where to kill Espantzay-Gonzales, and provided them with a car, a gun and a machete. 

Espantzay-Gonzales was lured to the Massapequa Preserve on January 28, 2017, with promises of sex and marijuana. To lure him to the preserve, one of the gang members allegedly pretended to befriend him. 

Once inside the preserve, Granados-Coreas, Cullal, Ponce, and Juarez allegedly hacked Espantzay-Gonzales to death with a machete. The 19-year-old was also shot in the face. The victim’s body was left under tree branches, leaves, and other brush. 

Campos allegedly drove the defendants to and from the murder scene.

Espantzay-Gonzales’s body was discovered on March 23, 2017, by a man walking his dog in the preserve.

Portillo was arrested by members of the Nassau County Police Department’s Homicide Squad in July 2017. 

Deputy Bureau Chief Katie Zizza of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau and Deputy Bureau Chief Daryl Levy of the Homicide Bureau are prosecuting this case. The defendant is represented by Joseph LoPiccolo, Esq. 

The charges against the other defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.



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