Juan Elias Garcia, an alleged member of the violent Mara Salvatrucha gang, or MS-13, became the newest member of the FBI's most wanted list Wednesday for the murder of a New York woman and her 2-year-old son.
An FBI statement on Wednesday said Garcia, who is believed to be hiding El Salvador, is accused of killing the woman and child execution style in Central Islip in 2010
. The bureau said that Garcia, known by the nickname Cruzito, was believed to be 17 at the time.
"Garcia's callous disregard for human life resulted in the senseless murder of a young mother and her helpless two-year-old son," said George Venizelos, assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York field office. "His appointment to the FBI’s Top Ten list illustrates not only the seriousness of his crimes but our commitment to seeking justice for his victims."
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The bureau is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information and details that leads directly to Garcia's arrest. Authorities expressed concerns about his ties to the MS-13.
"MS-13 is the most violent gang here of any of the street gangs," said FBI special agent Reynaldo Tariche, who investigated the Garcia case with the FBI's Long Island Gang Task Force. "The execution of a two-year-old and his mother is a new low even for MS-13."
The FBI said Garcia and his 19-year-old victim Vanessa Argueta were romantically linked. When they had a falling out, members of the 18th Street gang and the Latin Kings, which Argueta had connections with, supposedly threatened Garcia.
FBI said Garcia believed that the gangs threatened him because of information Argueta gave them and the deaths were in retaliation.
"Garcia was an enthusiastic murderer," Tariche said in the FBI statement. "He was the reason why this happened. He was the one who decided to get the gang involved. It wasn't about a boyfriend-girlfriend dispute. This was about disrespecting the gang. And the penalty for that is death."
that Garcia's fellow gang members accused in the crime, Adalberto Ariel Guzman and Rene Mendez Mejia, are awaiting sentencing after Mejia pleaded guilty to the murders and Guzman was found guilty at trial.
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