Far Rockaway gang member pleads guilty to role in 2018 killings


Carlos Guerra, of Far Rockaway, a MS-13 street gang member, pleaded guilty during jury selection on Jan. 23 for his role in two 2018 killings in Far Rockaway and Lawrence.

“Carlos Guerra and his co-defendants murdered two young men – within three days of each other – to move up the ranks of MS-13,” Nassau County District Attorney Anne  Donnelly stated in a news release. “The victims in this case made the mistake of allegedly disrespecting MS-13 and were marked for death.”

Guerra, 22, pleaded to manslaughter and conspiracy. He will be sentenced on March 7. Guerra could receive at least a 28-year prison term.

Guerra will join Yonathan Sanchez and Elmer Gutierrez to be sentenced for their role in the murders of  23-year-old Ian Cruz of Far Rockaway and Herold Sermeno, 17, of Far Rockaway, a Lawrence High School student.

Sanchez was sentenced to 34 years to life in prison in July 2020 and Gutierrez, of Valley Stream, was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison in Aug. 2021. One member, who was 15 at the time, pleaded guilty to murder and cases against two juveniles, a male and female, are pending.

Members of the NYPD arrested Sanchez, Guerra, Gutierrez and two juveniles were arrested on Dec. 19, 2018, in Far Rockaway. The sixth juvenile, was arrested on Dec. 28, 2018 by both the NYPD and NCPD.

On Dec. 15, 2018, Cruz a perceived enemy of MS-13, was lured to Bayswater Point State Park in Far Rockaway with the promise of sex and drugs.

Cruz met a young woman, then 13 , and then walked to the park with Sanchez and Guerra, and boy, then 15,  allegedly hid in the park amred with knives. Sanchez emerged from the bushes and shot Cruz four times in the heads with .22 caliber revolver.  

They took Cruz's belongings and went to an apartment on Nameoke Street in Far Rockaway. Cruz was found by a park-goer the following day, in his underwear on top of a blanket. 

Two days later, Sermeno was lured to the Five Towns Community Centere in Lawrence. He and the same girl were at the park on the property and began to drink and smoke at a picnic table.  

The rest of the group armed with a gun and knives awaited around the park. Sanchez then shot Sermeno four times in the lead and once in the chest with a .22 revolver. Guiterrez cut Sermeno's neck.  He was found the following morning by a person walking their dog.

At the time of his death, Sermeno had been suspended from school. He was being home-schooled at the Community Center.