A brutal MS-13 member has admitted he killed two teenage girls during a hunt for rivals of the notorious international gang in Long Island.
Enrique (Turkey) Portillo, 26, pleaded guilty to racketeering in Long Island Federal Court Thursday, making him the first suspect in the gang to admit to the horrific killings of Kayla Cuevas, 16, and Nisa Mickens, 15, in 2016. He also admitted two other murders, four attempted murders and an arson that caused a car to explode in a residential driveway.
Two of the gang’s leaders, brothers Alexi and Jairo Saenz, ordered the girls’ slaughter as revenge because Kayla and her pals fought with MS-13 members at Brentwood (L.I.) High School a week earlier, federal prosecutors said.
Portillo, Selvin Chavez, and two other juvenile members of the gang’s Sailors Locos Salvatruchas Westside clique packed into a car to search for rivals to kill on Sept. 13, 2016, and they spotted Kayla walking on Stahley St. in Brentwood.
Nisa, who was Kayla’s childhood friend, was walking alongside her, and that was enough justification in the gang member’s minds to kill her as well, the feds allege.
So the gang crew called the Saenz brothers, who authorized them to kill both teens, the feds said.
Chavez pulled the car alongside the girls, and Portillo and the other gang members spilled out, swinging baseball bats and a machete, according to prosecutors.
Nisa’s mutilated body was found on the street shortly after, while Kayla’s was found behind a nearby house the next day.
“Today, the defendant pleaded guilty to participating in four extremely brutal murders, including two teenage girls slaughtered while walking home, that have left permanent scars in the Brentwood community which for too long has suffered acts of violence and destruction carried out by the MS-13 with machetes, knives, guns and fire,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said.
Portillo also admitted the Oct. 13, 2016 murder of Dewann Stacks, 34, who he beat and hacked to death with two others, and the Jan. 30, 2017 killing of Esteban Alvarado-Bonilla, 29, who was shot to death because the “18″ on his football jersey led the gang’s members to believe he was in a rival crew.
Portillo also tried to kill two fellow inmates while locked up in the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
In 2020, then Attorney General William Barr authorized prosecutors to seek the death penalty against the Saenz brothers, who are accused of running the Sailors clique and are tied to seven killings. Their defense attorneys have asked the current attorney general, Merrick Garland, to reconsider.
Earlier in August, a federal jury in Brooklyn convicted another MS-13 leader, Melvi Amador-Rios, who headed the Queens-based Centrales Locos Salvatruchas clique, on a charge of murder in aid of racketeering, which carries a mandatory life sentence.
Amador-Rios ordered the murder of a 16-year-old member of his own gang, and the near-killing of another 16-year-old believed to be a rival gang member, the jury found.