‘Chofre’ goes bye-bye
A reputed leader of the vicious MS-13 street gang was sentenced to life in prison on April 22 for a host of felonies that included murder, attempted murder and racketeering.
Luis Bonilla, 23, known as “Chofre” by his fellow gang bangers, didn’t discriminate when it came to inflicting pain on others, said federal prosecutors who charged him with participating in the murder of a 15-year-old boy on Christmas Eve, 2006.
Bonilla’s sentence in Brooklyn Federal Court comes weeks after he pleaded guilty to the slaying as well as conspiracies to murder rival gang members.
Despite his young age, prosecutors said that Bonilla led the Jamaica, Queens set of MS-13 known as “La Mara Salvatrucha.”
One of the gang’s main goals was to rid their turf of other gangs — particularly the Crips and the Bloods, according to court papers.
On Dec. 24, 2006, Bonilla gave a gun to two of his underlings, ordering them to wipe out any Bloods members they saw.
Prosecutors said that one of his minions, suspect Hector “Angel” Portillo, was more than willing to comply since a Blood member had stabbed him during an earlier clash.
He and another MS 13 member reportedly opened fire on a group of youths they thought were Blood members and killed 15-year-old Pashad Gray.
But things didn’t work out the way Portillo or Bonilla planned.
Gray, it turned out, wasn’t the Blood member who had stabbed Portillo. In fact, he wasn’t a Blood at all.
Prosecutors convicted Portillo for the Gray homicide, as well as a drive-by shooting in February 2006, in which a teenager was injured.
Portillo was sentenced in January to 38 years in prison. Once he’s released, he will be deported to El Salvador.
Bonilla will not be so lucky U.S. Attorney Benton J. Campbell explained.
“Another leader of MS-13 has been brought to justice for committing senseless acts of violence,” he said. “Gangs are on notice: we will continue to prosecute organized street crime to the fullest extent of the law.”
Weeding out the problem
A resident of the Red Hook West Houses facing eviction for being arrested one too many times for marijuana possession is claiming that the New York City Housing Authority is discriminating against her because she uses the herb to “self medicate” an epilepsy disability.
Resident Doreen Moore, who is also acting as her own attorney, claims that the city never “provided her with an accommodation” for her phantom disability.
The city filed to have Moore’s motion dismissed because “she never established that she has a disability” and was “not entitled to an accommodation for her ongoing illegal drug use.”
To the city, Moore should be booted from the Red Hook Houses because she has “pled guilty five times to criminal possession of a controlled substance.”
Back in 2006, her two sons were prohibited from staying at her apartment because they were arrested for selling marijuana out of the apartment.
Still Moore didn’t learn, city attorney’s charge, claiming that her home was last raided for drugs in August 2009.
But that’s not all. It may be unsure that she suffers from epilepsy but she certainly suffers from “chronic rent delinquency,” city officials said.
Moore stuck to her guns, saying that she uses marijuana to stave off seizures. She claims that she needs to self-medicate because “doctors are afraid to prescribe the correct medicine,” according to court papers.
But Moore’s claims didn’t sway Judge Arthur Schack. After receiving no medical evidence that she suffers from epilepsy, he sided with the city.
“The NYCHA did not fail to provide Moore with a reasonable accommodation for a disability,” he wrote in his April 19 decision. “Rather, NYCHA terminated petitioner’s tenancy for her repeated drug-related criminal activities in and around the Red Hook West Houses where she lives.”
Back for more
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn may be feeling a sense of deja-vu in the weeks to come as former U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch takes back her post.
On April 22 the U.S. Senate confirmed her appointment, which she was nominated for back in January.
She was one of five candidates President Barack Obama named to fill U.S. Attorney posts across the nation. State Sen. Chuck Schumer recommended her for the job.
Lynch was Brooklyn’s U.S. Attorney from 1999 to 2001 and was a assistant federal prosecutor stretching back to 1990.
Removed from office in favor of a Bush administration pick, the Harvard law graduate became a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP, where she still litigates.
The Eastern District is currently being led by interim U.S. Attorney Benton J. Campbell, who has been leading federal prosecutors since October 2007.