By Victoria Merlino
Two alleged members of the infamous MS-13 gang were charged with a knife attack on a teen boy in Jamaica, prosecutors announced on Monday.
The unidentified 17-year-old was riding a bicycle near the intersection of 94th Avenue and Sutphin Blvd. when he was hit in the head and fell down.
Prosecutors said, Dani Cruz and Maxwell Martinez viciously beat and repeatedly stabbed the teen’s back, chest and arm.
Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement that the victim is “lucky to be alive” after undergoing surgery for nerve damage to the arm.
“This kind of brutality is unacceptable in a civilized society and shows a disregard for human life. The two defendants face a long term of incarceration for this heinous crime,” said DA Brown.
Cruz, 25 and Martinez, 24, both of Jamaica, fled the scene and were busted inside a bodega two blocks away from the bloody scene by an NYPD officer. The pair were spotted trying to gain entry to a 94th Avenue corner store’s basement, with their clothes and shoes covered in fresh blood.
Upon later testing, the blood matched the victim’s blood, and the pair was charged with second-degree attempted murder and first- and second-degree assault.
Both alleged stabbers admitted being members of MS-13 and drinking together, but denied participating in the vicious attack, according to the criminal complaint.
“I am a part of MS-13, The blood on my pants are from cuts I have, I had one construction accident ... I did not stab anyone,” Martinez said. Meanwhile, Cruz said he was in the deli the entire time, and that he was drinking and did not remember what happened that night.
If convicted, Cruz and Martinez each face up to 25 years in prison.
MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, uses brutal violence to intimidate rivals, law enforcement and the general public, according to a report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The gang, which is made of mostly Salvadoran nationals or first generation Salvadoran-Americans, but also including some other Central and South American immigrant groups, targets middle and high schoolers for recruitment. They operate in at least 42 states.
On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a task force that will be dedicated to combating transnational organized crime.