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MS-13 gang member wanted for murder in El Salvador arrested in NYC after entering US illegally

An MS-13 gang member wanted for two counts of murder in El Salvador was nabbed by immigration officers in New York City. He was found with a loaded handgun and marijuana.

An MS-13 gang member wanted for murder in El Salvador was apprehended by New York City U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents after entering the U.S. illegally as a gotaway, according to authorities.

On June 20, NYC-based ICE deportation officers arrested 27-year-old Melvin Orlando Hernandez Villanueva.

According to authorities, Hernandez Villanueva is a Salvadoran MS-13 gang member with an Interpol Red Notice for two counts of aggravated homicide in El Salvador. 


He was arrested in Queens and had marijuana and a loaded handgun on him, authorities said.

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Officials said he illegally entered the U.S. at an unknown time and location.

“This violent criminal and MS-13 gang member erroneously thought he could escape murder charges in El Salvador by sneaking into the United States and hiding out in New York City,” said ERO New York City Field Office Director Kenneth Genalo. “We will apprehend these international fugitives and repatriate them to their countries of origin to face justice. I am grateful for the courageous efforts and outstanding teamwork between my officers and our law enforcement partners for safely removing this dangerous individual from the community.”

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Salvadoran authorities issued an arrest warrant for Hernandez Villanueva on March 28, 2019.

On Oct. 12, 2023, the FBI provided ERO New York City’s Long Island officers with information pertaining to Hernandez Villanueva’s Interpol Red Notice.

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“One cannot get away with murder, even when attempting to flee and hide in another country,” said FBI New York Field Office acting Assistant Director in Charge Christie M. Curtis. “Melvin Orlando Hernandez Villanueva, an MS-13 gang member, allegedly illegally lived in our city to evade El Salvadorian authorities and avoid facing retribution for his alleged murder charges. With the assistance of our law enforcement partners. This arrest reflects the FBI’s commitment to capturing fugitives and removing dangerous criminals from our neighborhoods.”

Fox News’ Bill Melugin contributed to this report. 

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