DOJ seeks death penalty for LI MS-13 member charged with 7 murders

Maya Rajamani
July 15, 2020 - 2:43 pm
Alexi Saenz

U.S. Department of Justice


NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The U.S. Department of Justice will seek the death penalty for an MS-13 member who has been charged with murdering seven people on Long Island, including two teenage girls.

Alexi Saenz, 25, of Central Islip, was one of 13 MS-13 gang members charged with seven murders in 2017, including the deaths of Brentwood High School students Nisa Mickens, 15, and Kayla Cuevas, 16. 

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In a statement released Wednesday, the Department of Justice said President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr would seek the death penalty for Saenz. 

“In 2017, the President directed the Department of Justice to go to war against MS-13, and we did just that,” Barr said in a statement.

“While there is still work to be done, the Department… remains committed to protecting Americans threatened by MS-13, and we will not rest until we have successfully defeated this transnational criminal organization,” he added.

Prosecutors say Saenz, who was known as both “Blasty” and “Big Homie,” was one of the leaders of MS-13’s “Sailors” clique. 

Saenz, his brother and a third MS-13 member were all charged with the September 2016 murders of Mickens and Cuevas. 

Cuevas had gotten into a “series of disputes” with several MS-13 members and associates in the months before that month, and the gang “vowed to seek revenge against (her),” according to prosecutors. 

On Sept. 13, 2016, Saenz and a group of fellow MS-13 members jumped out of a car that had been following Cuevas and her classmate Nisa Mickens and attacked them with baseball bats and a machete, prosecutors say. 

Mickens’ body was discovered that day, and Cuevas’ body was discovered the next day, according to prosecutors. 

Saenz has also been charged with the January 2016 murder of Michael Johnson; the April 2016 murder of Oscar Acosta; the October 2016 murders of Javier Castillo and Dewann Stacks; and the January 2017 murder of Esteban Alvarado-Bonilla. 

The Department of Justice on Tuesday also unsealed a 24-count indictment charging eight other MS-13 members with charges related to six murders, two attempted murders, kidnappings, narcotics and “related firearms offenses.”