An MS-13 gang member nicknamed “Terror” has been sentenced to life behind bars for his role in the shooting death of a Houston-area teenager.
Douglas Alexander Herrera-Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison without parole after being found guilty of capital murder in the 2016 slaying of 16-year-old Estuar Quinonez, the Office of the District Attorney, Harris County, Texas, said in a release.
The victim had witnessed several gang-related murders and his killers wanted to silence him forever, prosecutors said.
“We are trying to break the back of this organization by sending their assassins to prison for as long as possible and we will remain unrelenting in our pursuit of these criminals who band together to terrorize communities,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in the release.
Prosecutors said Herrera-Hernandez admitted to contacting MS-13 gang leaders in El Salvador to sign off on Quinonez’s murder.
Herrera-Hernandez and several other gang members lured Quinonez to a park in Missouri City in June 2016.
“As the 16-year-old sat on a park bench, Herrera-Hernandez and the other hidden gang members emerged and started shooting at him, hitting him in the head,” prosecutors said.
They added that all of the gang members present fired on Quinonez, who was hit at least 15 times.
Meanwhile, the rising number of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is sparking fears about a resurge of MS-13, after the first major wave of unaccompanied minors in 2014 was followed by an uptick in MS-13 gang violence in the areas where most of the minors were placed.
Attorney General Ken Paxton told The Epoch Times that he’s “absolutely concerned” about the nexus with MS-13.
“We’ve already shown from the past that some of these unaccompanied minors end up in MS-13,” Paxton said, adding that Houston is a hub for the transnational gang.
“If we have a problem there, we definitely have a problem in the schools as well. Unfortunately, it is creating a problem for just regular kids having to be around these gang members,” Paxton said, adding that MS-13 is known for crimes including murders, extortion, racketeering, assaults, robberies, drug trafficking, and human trafficking. The gang’s motto is “kill, rape, control.”
A Justice Department report released in October 2020 detailed law enforcement efforts to “disrupt, dismantle, and destroy MS-13,” while noting a number of criminal statutes charged in MS-13 cases in the past four years, including racketeering, murder in aid of racketeering, narco-terrorism conspiracy, human trafficking, illegal alien in possession of a firearm, and illegal reentry following deportation.
The report also showed that nearly three-quarters of accused MS-13 gang members prosecuted by the DOJ in the four years prior to the report’s release were present in the United States illegally.
Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.
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