Alleged MS-13 gang member indicted in 2016 slaying

Posted: Updated:
MINEOLA -

An alleged MS-13 gang member from Roosevelt pleaded not guilty after a quick arraignment related to a 2016 killing.

Jose Daniel Lopez was indicted in the murder of another Roosevelt teen, Josue Amaya Leonor – also known to his family as Joshua Aguilar.

Aguilar’s body was found in a wooded area in Roosevelt in May.

MORE: Judge denies bail for man charged in alleged MS-13 gang killing

News 12 reported that Aguilar went missing in September 2016. His sister told News 12 last year that her brother vanished after meeting people he thought were friends in a Roosevelt shopping center. Police say Aguilar was "marked for death" for posting a social media photo indicating he was in the rival 18th Street Gang. Police say Aguilar was then lured to the Roosevelt Preserve with promises of smoking marijuana.

Prosecutors say Lopez is a member of MS-13’s “Hollywood Clique” and admitted to striking Aguilar three to four times with a machete. They say other individuals were also involved in the killing.

Lopez then allegedly told police, "After we finished burying him, [we] put the machetes and shovels in like a white nylon bag, walked back to a car and drove away.”

Defense attorney Jeff Groder says there is no physical evidence that ties Lopez to the case.

“[Prosecutors] do have a statement that he allegedly gave to the police," said Groder. “That will be the subject of a hearing later on to see if it is valid.”

Court records show Lopez is from El Salvador. His attorney says he came here illegally four years ago. He was held without bail because there is an "immigration hold" on him.

The Nassau County district attorney says additional arrests "are expected soon."

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