Police: MS-13 Gang Member Arrested For Murder While Applying For Citizenship

July 18, 2019 - 3:46 pm

MINEOLA, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- A sixth alleged MS-13 gang member wanted in the 2017 machete killing of a Long Island man has been arrested.

Authorities had been looking for 21-year-old Luis Alejandro Varela, known as "Felon" by fellow MS-13 gang members, in the murder of 22-year-old Carlos Rivas Majano.

Nassau County Police Lt. Steven Fitzpatrick said Thursday that Varela was finally arrested in Manhattan when he showed up to get papers to become a U.S. citizen.

"It was difficult because we didn't have an active photo of him outside of social media. We had issued a warrant for him; when he showed up in Federal Plaza applying for U.S. citizenship, the warrant popped and we arrested him," Fitzpatrick said.

Prosecutors say Majano, a suspected gang member who was possibly a police informant, was lured into the woods along the Meadowbrook Parkway in Uniondale, where he was hacked and stabbed to death with machetes in August 2017. His body was found a year later. 

"He was suspected by them of certain cooperations or acting outside the rules of the gang," Fitzpatrick said. "They came to a conviction in their group that he was supposed to be beaten for 13 seconds that night and unfortunately he was killed instead."

A grand jury handed down an indictment in the case in November.

In April, Edar Ventura was sentenced to 32 years to life after pleading guilty to Majano's murder and another killing.  

Varela pleaded not guilty to a second-degree murder charge on Thursday. He was remanded and is due back in court July 22. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Cases against four other defendants, who have pleaded not guilty, are pending.

The investigation is ongoing.