On January 10, 2016 Christofer Perez-De la Cruz became the third teenager murdered in a four-month span in East Boston.
Sixteen-year-old De la Cruz was stabbed and then shot as he walked down Falcon Street in Eagle Hill late at night.
Last week U. S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV sentenced Jairo Perez, 27, of El Salvador to 35 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Perez will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence.
In May 2018, Perez pleaded guilty to conspiracy through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO or racketeering conspiracy. Perez admitted that his racketeering activity involved the 2016 murder of De la Cruz.
The investigation revealed that Perez was a member of MS-13’s Trece Loco Salvatrucha clique. On Jan. 10, 2016, Perez and three other MS-13 members—Edwin Gonzalez, Edwin Diaz and Rigoberto Mejia murdered De la Cruz, whom they believed to be a member of a rival gang. Perez, Gonzalez, and Diaz used machetes to strike the victim dozens of times, while Mejia shot the victim. The murder occurred late at night on Falcon Street.
A few days after the murder, law enforcement used a cooperating witness to capture Perez on tape admitting to his involvement in the murder. Perez was also recorded burying the knives used to murder the victim in a park on Deer Island in Winthrop. The murder weapons were later recovered by law enforcement.
After a multi-year investigation, Perez was one of dozens of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 named in a superseding indictment unsealed in January 2016 that targeted MS-13’s criminal activities in Massachusetts.
Perez, Gonzalez, Diaz, and Mejia are four of 49 defendants who have been convicted on federal charges as part of the ongoing prosecution. Sixteen of those defendants—including Perez, Gonzalez, Diaz, and Mejia—have been held responsible for racketeering conspiracy involving murder.
Forty of the 49 convictions, including Mejia, were the result of guilty pleas prior to trial. Nine other defendants, including Gonzalez, were convicted after trial.