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Queens Chronicle

Alleged MS-13 members charged in Jamaica attack

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Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 3:49 pm

Two alleged members of the MS-13 street gang and a reputed gang associate have been charged in federal court with assault and attempted murder in aid of racketeering in connection with a shooting on Oct. 16 that left a Jamaica teenager paralyzed.

Jose Gonzalez, 18, Kevin Paniagua, 18 and Francisco Ramos, 23, all from Queens, appeared in federal court on Wednesday.

Gonzalez and Paniagua are reportedly members of MS-13, which is shorthand for La Mara Salvatrucha, a gang that originated in Los Angeles and is composed primarily of members who are natives of El Salvador or have Salvadoran heritage.

The charges were announced at a joint press conference with Bridget Rohde, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York; William Sweeney Jr., assistant director in charge of the FBI New York Field Office; and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill.

According to court documents, Ramos, an alleged gang associate, drove Gonzalez, Paniagua and a third gang member to the vicinity of 179th Street and 90th Avenue in Jamaica in search of an individual who allegedly was being targeted because he was believed to be a member of the rival 18th Street Gang.

The three allegedly beat the victim before Paniagua allegedly shot him in the head. Authorities claim he attempted to fire another shot, but the gun malfunctioned.

The victim now is a paraplegic.

“As alleged in the complaint, the defendants were members and an associate of MS-13, an international gang known for its culture of murder,” Rohde said in a statement released by her office. “They sought to spread fear throughout the community by attempting to kill an individual they suspected to be a rival gang member. We will work with our law enforcement partners to make our communities safer by holding accountable those who are responsible for such acts of violence.”

Rohde also thanked the office of Queens District Attorney Richard Brown for its assistance.

The gang has been in the news lately for its alleged ties to a series of vicious murders in Suffolk County in the last year.

“MS-13 feeds on violence and chaos, and forces people to live in fear,” Sweeney said. “As we arrest and charge more gang members, they’re seeing they can’t operate in the shadows and escape getting caught.”

He said the joint effort among law enforcement agencies will not stop.

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