Alleged MS-13 gang member pleads not guilty to 2017 second-degree murder charge

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A 21-year-old alleged member of MS-13 pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges in Mineola court Thursday.

Prosecutors say Luis Alejandro Varela is the sixth and final defendant to be arrested and now charged for the August 2017 murder of a man whose body was found buried in the sump in East Meadow off the Meadowbrook Parkway.

Varela, 21, was brought to court in Mineola for his arraignment on a murder in the second-degree charge.

Police say he and five other members of MS-13 killed 22-year-old Carlos Rivas Majano. His body was found in 2018.

"We allege they lured Majano into the woods near the Meadowbrook Parkway and Glenn Curtis Boulevard, where he was brutally hacked and murdered with machetes," says Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas.

Police say Majano was also a member of MS-13 who was suspected of violating gang rules. Sources have said the gang believed Majano was cooperating with law enforcement.

Varela's court-appointed attorney said he has no prior criminal history. He was held without bail on the murder charge.

Varela and the five others were indicted in November, but Varela wasn't arrested until Wednesday when police say he went to at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services in Holtsville to apply for U.S. citizenship. 

In a statement, ICE says, "On July 18, ICE lodged a detainer with Nassau County on Luis Barela-Hernandez, an illegally present Salvadoran national, after his arrest by federal and local law enforcement authorities for murder. ICE will seek to take custody of him upon his release from local custody. Barela-Hernandez was previously encountered by immigration authorities in April 2015 and was released with reporting reporting requirements to ICE."

One of the six people arrested in the case has already been sentenced to 32 years to life after pleading guilty in March.

Varela is due back in court Monday with one of his alleged co-defendants.

MORE:Police: Man found buried in East Meadow was MS-13 gang member , 6 suspected MS-13 members indicted in 2017 slaying 




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