A member of the notorious MS-13 street gang known as “Animal,” who admitted to the 2015 killing of a teenage boy in Massachusetts, was sentenced to 40 years in prison, officials said Tuesday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts announced that 23-year-old Joel Martinez, who went by the street name of “Animal,” will be subject to deportation once he’s released from federal prison.
Martinez pleaded guilty in December to RICO conspiracy and admitting to stabbing 15-year-old Irvin Javier de Paz Castro to death on Sept. 20, 2015, according to prosecutors.
President Trump, who has made the fight against the street gang a notable part of his domestic policy, recently referred to dangerous MS-13 gang members as “animals,” which some media organizations took out of context to make it appear that he was talking about illegal immigrants.
The president was asked last week about the brutal gang by Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims when addressing California sanctuary city laws. Mims specifically said, “There could be an MS-13 gang member I know about, if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about them.”
The president responded, “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Martinez was secretly recorded by a cooperating witness where he acknowledged being a member of MS-13 and admitting his role in the killing. The video, posted by the Boston Globe, shows the informant coaxing the confession out of Martinez.
“I stabbed the culero three times,” the 23-year-old said in the recording, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “He stared at me and he asked me if I was going to, if I was going to stab him. I told him, ‘Yes, the Mara rules you.'”
“Mara” refers to Mara Salvatrucha, the long-form name for MS-13.After the 2015 murder, prosecutors said that Martinez was “jumped in” and made a “homeboy,” or full member of MS-13’s Eastside Loco Salvatrucha (ESLS) clique in East Boston during a ceremony that was surreptitiously recorded by agents.When a prospective member is “jumped in,” members of the MS-13 clique beat then new member with their hands and feet while one of the leaders of the clique counts aloud slowly to thirteen, according to prosecutors.