MS-13 Leader Alexi Saenz Pleads Guilty to Eight Murders in New York

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team



Alexi Saenz, a high-ranking MS-13 gang member, pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges related to eight murders in Central Islip, New York. He now faces 40 to 70 years in prison.

Among the victims were two Long Island teenagers, Kayla Cuevas (16) and Nisa Mickens (15), who were killed in September 2016. Prosecutors said MS-13 gang members chased them and attacked them with baseball bats and a machete. The murders stemmed from disputes at Brentwood High School, where Cuevas had an altercation with people linked to MS-13. The gang vowed revenge against her.

Saenz and other suspected gang members were arrested in 2017 for the teens’ deaths. Charges against his brother, Jairo Saenz, are still pending.

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace described Saenz’s involvement in multiple killings and violent acts within a year in Suffolk County as extreme. Initially, prosecutors sought the death penalty for Saenz and his brother, but Attorney General Merrick Garland decided against it in 2023.

The murders of Cuevas and Mickens gained national attention, with President Donald Trump mentioning their parents at the 2018 State of the Union.

In addition to these murders, Saenz was charged with six other killings of individuals suspected of being in rival gangs, as well as three attempted murders, arson, narcotics trafficking, and firearms offenses. He was seen as a leader in these crimes, often directing or approving the attacks.

Suffolk County Police Department acting Commissioner Robert E. Waring called Saenz’s crimes “senseless and barbaric,” expressing hope that the guilty plea brings some closure to the victims’ families and shows a commitment to fighting such criminal activities.

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