Hempstead MS-13 Leader Convicted of January 2017 Murder of 19-Year-Old
After approximately three hours of deliberation, a Nassau County jury found a high-ranking member of MS-13 guilty for his role in the January 2017 murder of a teenager deemed to be an enemy of the gang.
The Nassau County District Attorney’s Office announced that Carlos Portillo, known as “Solitario” and “Pikachu,” 28, was convicted on January 25 after a jury trial of Murder in the Second Degree (an A-I felony). The defendant is due back in court for sentencing on March 7. He faces a potential maximum of 25 years to life in prison.
The co-defendants — Kevin “Lonely” Granados-Coreas, Antonio “Duke” Cullal and Raul “Shadow” Ponce — have pleaded guilty for their roles in the murder. Granados-Coreas was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison, Cullal received a sentence of 20 years to life and Ponce was sentenced to 32 years to life. The cases against co-defendants Roberto Abrego Reyes, Gerson Stanley Juarez, and Laura Campos are pending.
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. 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.
“High-ranking MS-13 member Carlos Portillo ordered the murder of an innocent 19-year-old man, simply because he wore the wrong color,” Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly said. “I thank our prosecutors and the detectives at the Nassau County Police Department and New York City Police Department for their assistance in bringing this dangerous defendant to justice.”