Brooklyn U.S. attorney comments on charges against gang-linked man
From Federal Bureau of Investivation
The FBI’s New York Field Office is seeking the public’s assistance in locating Juan Elias Garcia. Garcia, also known as “Cruzito,” is wanted for his alleged participation in the murder of 19-year-old Vanessa Argueta and her 2-year-old son in Central Islip, N.Y., on Feb. 5, 2010.
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta E. Lynch said, “Garcia and his co-conspirators executed a young mother and her toddler in cold blood before fleeing from the United States.
“[The] announcement by the FBI, which designates Garcia as one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted suspects, recognizes both the horrific nature of this crime, as well as the tenacious efforts by the FBI and United States Attorney’s Office to locate Garcia and bring him to face to justice.” Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to each of the members of the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force.
According to prior court filings and testimony introduced during two recent MS-13 racketeering trials, Garcia, who is linked to the MS-13 gang, was involved in a romantic relationship with Argueta, a woman who had ties to both the 18th Street Gang and the Latin Kings—two of the principal rivals of MS-13.
After a dispute between Argueta and Garcia, rival gang members allegedly threatened violence against Garcia. Garcia believed that Argueta was behind the threats, and Garcia obtained permission from gang leaders to kill Argueta.
On Feb. 4, 2010, Garcia contacted Argueta and invited her out to dinner. Later that evening, Garcia picked up Argueta and her 2-year-old son, Diego Torres, in a vehicle. Garcia and associates then allegedly drove the vehicle to a wooded area in Central Islip and lured their victims into the woods.
Once they were in the woods, the MS-13 members fired two shots with a .22 caliber handgun, striking Argueta twice in the head and chest. After hearing the gunshots and seeing his mother killed, Torres began crying.
The defendants shot Torres in the head, which knocked the young boy to the ground but did not kill him. Torres got back up and clutched onto Garcia’s leg, but Guzman then fired a second shot that struck Torres in the head and killed him. On February 5, 2010, the bodies of Argueta and her son were found in a wooded area in Central Islip.
As of March 26, 2014, Garcia remains a fugitive. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for any information leading directly to the arrest of Juan Elias Garcia.
Garcia is the 501st person to be placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, which was established in March 1950.