It’s been three years since 17-year-old Andy Peralta was lured to his death in Kissena Park, but investigators believe they have captured two of his murderers.
Oscar Flores-Mejia, an alleged associate of the MS-13 gang, was indicted in federal court March 25 for torturing and killing the Corona teen to better increase his standing in the criminal organization.
His alleged partner, Juan Amaya-Ramirez, was indicted for the crime in May of last year. A suspected third and unnamed participant has yet to be apprehended.
According to authorities, Peralta had been passing through the Flushing park on April 23, 2018 when Flores-Mejia, 21, and Amaya-Ramirez, 23, noticed a tattoo of a crown on the teen’s chest. The alleged gang members, known as “Chamuco” and “Cadaver,” respectively, mistook it as the insignia for the rival 18th Street gang, and conspired to murder Peralta to prove their dedication to MS-13.
The defendants allegedly lured Peralta deeper into the park and ambushed him in a wooded area. They then strangled, slashed and stabbed the teen to death.
After the murder, the assailants used Amaya-Ramirez’s iPhone to photograph Flores-Mejia leaning over Peralta’s corpse while displaying an MS-13 hand sign, the FBI said.
The photograph was found in Amaya-Ramirez’s iCloud storage during a court-authorized search of the account.
Peralta’s body was discovered by a hiker in a grassy section of the Flushing green space with a slash across his chest where the tattoo of a crown lay.
If convicted, the accused face a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. They could also be eligible for the death penalty, according to authorities.
“No one deserves to die simply to boost the standing of a gang member,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said in a statement. “Behavior like the kind we allege today leads to a federal prison cell. Your stay will be a long one.”
The indictment was released as part of a superseding indictment against several members and associates of the gang. Nine other defendants were listed in the document across counts of racketeering, marijuana distribution and murder.
According to the document, several other MS-13 members were responsible for the November 2018 killing of Victor Alvarenga on a street in Flushing and the February 2019 murder of Abel Mosso at the 90th Street subway stop in Jackson Heights.