An MS-13 gang member has admitted he pretended to be a girl on Facebook in 2015 to lure a 15-year-old boy to Constitution Beach in East Boston, where the victim was stabbed to death, prosecutors said.
Carlos “Chuchito” “Criminal” Melara, a 21-year-old Salvadoran national, pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Boston to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, according to U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling’s office.
Melara, co-defendant Henry “Street Danger” Parada Martinez and another MS-13 member took part in the Sept. 7, 2015, murder of Wilson Martinez, prosecutors said.
The defendants targeted the victim in a “catfishing” scheme in which they used a fake Facebook account to trick him into thinking he was talking to a girl, prosecutors said. The account actually was controlled by MS-13 members to lure suspected gang rivals to their deaths.
On the day of the murder, Melara picked up the boy on a scooter, pretending to be a friend of the girl the victim thought he was going to meet for a date, prosecutors said.
Melara drove the victim to Constitution Beach, where the defendant and other MS-13 members took turns stabbing him, prosecutors said. As a reward for his participation in the murder, Melara was promoted to “homeboy,” or a full member of MS-13.
Melara faces a possible life sentence, but under the terms of a proposed plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend that he be sentenced to 30 to 40 years in prison and be subject to deportation when he completes his sentence.
At Friday’s hearing, U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV accepted the defendant’s guilty plea but deferred acceptance of the plea deal until Melara’s July 30 sentencing hearing.
“We resolved the case in the manner we did because we believe it was in Mr. Melara’s best interest to do so,” his attorney, David J. Grimaldi, said in an email. “We look forward to the sentencing hearing, where we will present to Judge Saylor all of the information we believe justifies the lesser, though still very substantial, sentence of 30 years.”
Melara is the 40th defendant to be convicted in the case.
On Nov. 29, Parada Martinez, a Salvadoran national formerly of East Boston, also pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy in connection to the murder. He awaits sentencing.
After a three-year investigation, he was one of 61 people named in an indictment targeting the criminal activities of MS-13 in Massachusetts.
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