AN MS-13 gang member facing a federal murder charge was released by mistake by New York state prison officials and roamed free for five days.
Ever Morales-Lopez, 26, was released from the Washington Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York, on September 3, according to records obtained by the New York Post.
The gang member nicknamed “White Boy” and “Lenky” was granted parole for a conspiracy conviction on Long Island from two years ago.
However, state officials were unaware of a federal arrest warrant that was out for Morales-Lopez relating to his indictment in July on racketeering charges.
Charges against Morales-Lopez, and seven other MS-13 gang members, covered six murders and two attempted murders, as well as a kidnapping conspiracy, an anonymous law enforcement source told the Post on Tuesday.
But instead of moving Morales-Lopez to federal custody, state officials released him under community supervision.
New York’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision did not get a warrant to hold Morales-Lopez, a spokesperson for the agency told the newspaper.
It was not until September 8 that the FBI found out about the mistaken release and the bureau’s Long Island Gang Task Force found and took him into custody.
The gang task force spent 12 hours searching before capturing Morales-Lopez.
Morales-Lopez is accused in the 2016 murder of a rival gang member, Kerin Pineda.
The crime occurred in a wooded area by the Merrick-Freeport border.
As several MS-13 members hacked Pineda to death with machetes and buried his body, Morales-Lopez allegedly served as one of a few lookouts for police officers.
The murder in aid of racketeering charge against Morales-Lopez carries life in prison—or the death penalty.
Morales-Lopez was granted a “merit release” shortening his sentence by one-sixth, even though he did not qualify for parole until April 8.
The gang member was serving a three-and-a-half- to 10-and-a-half-year sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy in 2018 in Nassau County before he was set loose.
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On Thursday, Morales-Lopez appeared in a federal court in Central Islip.
A judge on Thursday called Morales-Lopez a “serious risk” for fleeing and a “danger to the community,” according to the Daily Mail.
He is now being held without bail.