An MS-13 member serving a more than 17-year sentence for participating in a 2015 gang-related killing of an Ohio teenager died early Sunday in a troubled federal lockup in Brooklyn, authorities said.
Erasmo Humberto Lima-Martinez, 35, was found unresponsive at 12:51 a.m. in the Metropolitan Detention Center, the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced Sunday.
Medics rushed the inmate to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the BOP. Sources told Associated Press reporter Mike Balsamo that Lima-Martinez died by suicide.
Lima-Martinez had been detained in the Sunset Park facility since May 3, the BOP said.
He pleaded guilty in 2019 for his role in the slaying of 17-year-old high school student Wilson Villeda in Columbus, Ohio.
Villeda, a native of El Salvador, was considered to be affiliated with a rival gang, prompting MS-13 leaders in the Central American country to sign off on his murder.
Members of the bloodthirsty gang, including Lima-Martinez, took Villeda to a park, where they hacked him to death with machetes and other blades, before dumping his body in a wooded area, according to the the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.
One of Villeda’s arms was severed, the Columbus Dispatch reported at the time, citing court records. People walking their dogs in the park discovered Villeda’s body in a shallow grave in December 2015, according to the local newspaper.
Lima-Martinez, also known “Tun Tun,” was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison for murder in aid of racketeering.
He was among 23 people charged in a February 2018 indictment for being alleged members and associates of MS-13 in Columbus. Lima-Martinez also participated in trafficking cocaine, marijuana and heroin for the gang, according to federal prosecutors.
His death is the latest fatality in the notorious federal jail, where more than 1,700 people are detained.
In June 2020, an inmate at the MDC died after being pepper sprayed by prison officers. A federal lawsuit filed in June 2021 by the family of the inmate charged that Brooklyn jail guards stood by as he “slowly died” and did not properly respond to his mental health episode.
In 2019, a group of lawyers filed a lawsuit about the “humanitarian crisis” at the jail that had left prisoners without electricity or heat for weeks. The conditions in the detention facility at the time prompted a Department of Justice probe.
Amid the power outage, a former warden at the jail, Cameron Lindsay, told the New York Times that in the past decade has been “one of the most troubled, if not the most troubled facility in the Bureau of Prisons.”
The deaths comes a month after federal prosecutors threatened to place the New York City’s beleaguered jail system under control of a receivership if dangerous and dysfunctional conditions at Rikers Island do not improve.