Police successfully captured Josue Figueroa-Velasquez on May 29 and charged him with the murder of 16-year-old Angel Soler. The MS-13 member allegedly hacked the victim to death with a machete and attempted to hide his body in the woods in July.
Authorities investigating the disappearance of Soler eventually uncovered the remains in the woods. They were led to the victim through a tip coming from the Department of Homeland Security. It appears that the gang members attempted to hide the victim’s body by encasing it in cement and burying him five feet under the ground. The body was recovered in a wooded area off of Fredrick Avenue.
The primary suspect, Figueroa-Velasquez, has been charged with second degree murder. Two individuals suspected of being accomplices to the crime were arrested promptly after the discovery of the victim’s remains. The additional accomplices are 29-year-old Victor Lopez and 26-year-old David Sosa-Guevara. Authorities allege that these two had intentionally lured the victim into the woods where he was fatally attacked. They were both named in an indictment from months prior. Records indicate that a total of five different people were likely working together to coordinate this murder. Detective Lt. Steven Fitzpatrick noted that, “these cases are never closed. These types of acts are not done by one person.”
Officials have been cracking down on MS-13-related crime, and authorities have reason to believe that the gang has committed at least 25 different killings in New York over the past two years. The community is concerned, but police have reassured the public that they are working to bring all MS-13 criminals to justice.