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Reputed MS-13 gang leader pleads guilty to 8 murders in N.Y. court

By Mike Heuer
Alexi Seanz was the reputed leader of a local MS-13 gang in Brentwood and Central Islip, N.Y., and pleaded guilty to eight murders and other gang-related crimes Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Photo by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York
1 of 2 | Alexi Seanz was the reputed leader of a local MS-13 gang in Brentwood and Central Islip, N.Y., and pleaded guilty to eight murders and other gang-related crimes Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Photo by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York

July 10 (UPI) -- Alleged local MS-13 gang leader Alexi Saenz pleaded guilty to eight murders, including two teen girls, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern New York Wednesday.

Saenz's guilty plea includes the September 2016 murders of Kayla Cuevas, 16, and Nisa Mickens, 15, in Brentwood on Long Island.

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Saenz, 29, also pleaded guilty to six other murders, three attempted murders, narcotics trafficking, arson, firearms violations and racketeering charges.

"To say that Alexi Saenz's hands are drenched in blood does not begin to describe the multiple killings and extreme mayhem he personally directed and committed in the span of one year in Suffolk County[N.Y.]," U.S. Attorney Breon Pace told the court.

Federal prosecutors said the murders likely occurred due to a dispute between Cuevas and her friends and members of the MS-13 gang who attended Brentwood High School in Brentwood, N.Y.

"They were beaten to death in the street with machetes and bats over seemingly nothing and left in the streets or in the backyard of a house to die," Robert Capers, former U.S. Attorney for New York's Eastern District, told reporters in 2017. "These were terribly heinous crimes."

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Prosecutors said Saenz also is known as "Blasty" and "Big Homie" and led the MS-13 gang that operated in Brentwood and Central Islip on Long Island.

The gang's local name was Sailors Locos Salvatruchas Westside.

Alexi's brother Jairo Saenz is charged with the same crimes. His case is pending.

Federal prosecutors say Jairo Saenz was the local gang's second-in-command.

The Saenz brothers also are accused of murdering Michael Johnson, Oscar Acosta, Marcus Bohannon, Javier Castillo and Dewann Stacks in 2016 and Esteban Alvarado-Bonilla in 2017.

Alexi Saenz's guilty plea includes those murders.

The prosecutors initially sought the death penalty for the Saenz brothers, but Attorney General Merrick Garland last year said the would not seek capital punishment.

The murders of the two teen girls drew national attention.

Then-President Donald Trump hosted the surviving parents of Cuevas and Mickens during his 2018 State of the Union Address to Congress.

Trump said their murders were due to weak immigration policies under former President Barack Obama and called for the death penalty for the two brothers and four other MS-13 gang members.

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