Carlos “Chuchito” Melara picked the 15-year-old boy up on a scooter and drove him to Boston’s Constitution Beach where gang members were awaiting his arrival, federal authorities said.
The teen thought he was riding with a friend of the girl he was on his way to meet in person on Sept. 7, 2015. He had been talking to her on Facebook and the two had set up a date, according to the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office.
But the girl who he thought he was speaking to was two members of the violent international crime gang MS-13, prosecutors said.
Melara, 21, and another member had been using a fake Facebook account to trick the teen into thinking he was communicating with a girl, when he was actually talking to MS-13 members who wanted to kill him, authorities said.
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So when Melara showed up to give him a ride, the teen didn’t know he was on his way to an ambush, according to prosecutors.
MS-13 members were at the beach when the teen arrived. They took turns attacking and stabbing him to death, authorities said.
The death earned Melara a promotion to “homeboy,” or a full member of MS-13, for helping orchestrate the boy’s murder, prosecutors said.
Authorities didn’t reveal a motive behind the killing. Melara’s attorney didn’t respond to the Boston Globe’s requests for comment.
Melara, who was one of 61 people named in a sweeping indictment targeting MS-13 members, pleaded guilty Friday to racketeering conpsiracy in Boston federal court in connection with the killing. The Salvadoran national will be sentenced in July.
MS-13, a gang birthed in Los Angeles in the 1980s, has been a target of the Trump administration, and was even mentioned in Trump’s State of the Union in January. The group includes members who are Honduran, Guatemalan, Mexican and from other areas of Central and South America.
Last year, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions designated MS-13 as a "priority" for the Department of Justice's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, Associated Press reported.
The designation allows local police departments to use federal money to help pay for gang-related investigations and directs prosecutors to pursue all legal avenues to target the gang, according to AP.