U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of NY
Following three weeks of trial, a federal jury in Central Islip, N.Y. returned a verdict convicting MS-13 street gang member Adalberto Ariel Guzman, also known as “Gringo,” on federal criminal charges, including murder, conspiracy to commit murder and firearms offenses, in connection with the execution-style murders of a mother and her 2-year-old son.
At trial, the government proved that defendant Guzman carried out the execution-style murders of Vanessa Argueta, a 19-year-old woman, and Diego Torres, her 2-year-old son, in Central Islip on Feb. 5, 2010. The bodies of Argueta and Torres were found in a secluded wooded area in Central Islip. Argueta had been shot in the head and chest, and Torres had been shot twice in the head.
The evidence introduced at trial established that Guzman fired the fatal shot to Torres’s head, and after committing the murders, he and two of his co-conspirators fled to El Salvador. Guzman was arrested on May 17, 2010, in Miami when he attempted to return to the United States.
“Guzman and his co-conspirators shot a young mother and her toddler in cold blood. Her crime in their eyes -- showing `disrespect’ to their vicious gang. Her child’s -- simply being with her when the defendant and his cronies decided that she could no longer live,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Loretta Lynch. “Few other acts illustrate so clearly the heartless nature of this criminal enterprise known as MS-13. Guzman will now be held to account for his allegiance to this band of killers.”
The defendant is facing a sentence of life in prison as a result of his conviction. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 9, 2014, before United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco.