Federal prosecutors said MS-13 gang members murdered a man in Long Island simply because he was wearing a Peyton Manning football jersey, according to the New York Post.
The revelation is related to the January 2017 murder of Esteban Alvarado-Bonilla at a deli. MS-13 member Mario Aguilar-Lopez pleaded guilty to the murder in November 2018.
U.S. Assistant Attorney Raymond Tierney discussed the details of the motivation behind the murder during court proceedings Tuesday for Jose Suarez, who is accused of being the getaway driver in the murder in order to earn respect of the gang.
What did the jersey have to do with it?
Alvarado-Bonilla was suspected of being a member of the rival 18th Street gang. Manning's jersey number was 18. As a result, Alvarado-Bonilla was "marked for death," prosecutors said.
Aguilar-Lopez fired five shots at Alvarado-Bonilla's head at point-blank range, and one bullet also struck a nearby employee, who survived.
Suarez was waiting in the vehicle outside to help Aguilar-Lopez escape.
"The only way he could rise up the ranks...was to commit outrageous acts of violence, including murder," Tierney said.
"It's about the role this defendant played in helping to hurt people...helping to kill people."
MS-13 in the US
The dangers of gang violence are a significant justification for supporters of a border wall and stricter immigration laws and policies.
According to the Boston Herald, there are about 10,000 MS-13 gang members in the United States, and 377 MS-13 gang members were arrested in the country during the 2018 fiscal year.
Between 50,000 and 70,000 MS-13 members reside in Central America, where numerous caravans have mobilized in recent months to come to the U.S.-Mexico border.