BOSTON – An MS-13 member pleaded guilty on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy involving the murder of a 15-year-old boy in East Boston.
Joel Martinez, a/k/a “Animal,” 23, a Salvadoran national formerly residing in East Boston, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for March 22, 2018.
Martinez was identified as a member of MS-13’s Eastside Loco Salvatrucha (ESLS) clique, which operated in Chelsea, Everett, and elsewhere in greater Boston. Martinez admitted that on Sept. 20, 2015, he murdered a 15-year-old boy on Trenton Street in East Boston.
In recorded conversations between Martinez and a cooperating witness, Martinez acknowledged being a member of MS-13 and admitted that he stabbed the victim to death. Specifically, Martinez said, “I stabbed the asshole three times, and it was a beautiful thing! Just beautiful!” As a result of the murder, Martinez was “jumped in” and made a “homeboy,” or full member of MS-13, during a ceremony that was surreptitiously recorded by federal agents. When a prospective member is “jumped in,” members of the MS-13 clique beat the new member with their hands and feet while one of the leaders of the clique counts aloud slowly to thirteen.
After a three-year investigation, Martinez was one of 61 individuals named in a superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. Martinez is the 27th defendant to plead guilty in this case.
Martinez faces up to life in prison, five years of supervised release, and will be subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.