Brentwood, New York’s Jhonny Contreras pleads guilty to Derrick Mayes, Keenan Russell, Cesar Rivera-Vasquez’s murders


Jhonny Contreras, 28, of Brentwood, Town of Islip, Suffolk County, New York, United States is a member of the Brentwood Locos Salvatruchas (BLS) clique of La Mara Salvatrucha. Also known as the MS-13, the transnational criminal organization was originally set up in the 1970s to protect immigrants from El Salvador from other gangs in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Armed themselves with a .25 caliber handgun and 20-gauge shotgun, Contreras and another MS-13 member drove in a stolen minivan on May 26, 2013 around Central Islip, Town of Islip looking for rival gang members to kill. The two saw an African-American man named Derrick Mayes, 21, of Central Islip on Wilson Boulevard in Central Islip.


Contreras and his co-conspirator did not know Mayes but because Mayes was wearing an article of red clothing, the two MS-13 members wrongly assumed that the African-American man was a member of the Bloods street gang.  The MS-13 members fatally shot Mayes.

Armed with the same .25 caliber handgun and 20-gauge shotgun as well as a 9mm handgun, Contreras drove around Central Islip in the stolen minivan and other vehicles with several other MS-13 members on May 27, 2013. Looking for rival gang members to kill, the MS-13 members observed several African-Americans outside of a house party on Acorn Street in Central Islip, including Keenan Russell, 21, of Central Islip.

The MS-13 members did not know Russell but they mistakenly assumed him to be a member of the Bloods so they fatally shot him. Later, Contreras and several other MS-13 members drove the minivan to a wooded area in Ronkonkoma, Town of Islip, and tried to remove fingerprints on it before setting it on fire.


On November 19, 2015, Contreras and other MS-13 members lured Cesar Rivera-Vasquez to a secluded area in Babylon, Suffolk County. Using knives and a baseball bat, the MS-13 members ftally attacked Rivera-Vasquez, who they thought was a member of a rival Mexican gang called Raza Loca.

On May 17, 2022, Contreras pleaded guilty in federal court in Central Islip to racketeering and related firearms charges in connection with his participation in the murders of Mayes, Russell and Rivera-Vasquez. When sentenced, the Brentwood resident faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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