WOODBRIDGE, VA — A reputed New Jersey member of the violent gang MS-13 — who had been sought by authorities for six years on charges that he ruthlessly beat a man with a baseball bat and cut his throat — was taken into custody Friday, Aug. 11, in Woodbridge, Virginia. The FBI says that agents arrested the man on its Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list, Walter Yovany Gomez, without incident as a result of a “well-coordinated investigation and tips received from the public.”
On May 8, 2011, Julio Matute was allegedly murdered by Walter Yovany Gomez and a co-conspirator. Both men were identified members of a New Jersey branch of the Mara Salvatrucha gang. Gomez and his accomplice allegedly struck Matute in the head with a baseball bat, sliced his throat, and stabbed him in the back 17 times with a screwdriver because they believed Matute socialized with a rival gang, said FBI officials in a news release.
A federal arrest warrant was issued for Gomez on Sept. 19, 2013, after he was charged with violent crime in aid of racketeering. Gomez was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list on April 12, 2017.
“The apprehension of Walter Yovany Gomez is a prime example of the close coordination between the vigilant public and the hard working men and women of law enforcement,” said Timothy Gallagher, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Newark Division, in a news release. “Gomez will now stand trial for his alleged involvement in a brutal murder which took a young man from his family.”
When police went to Gomez’s residence after the murder, he jumped out a window and fled, authorities say, driving to Maryland with help from other MS-13 gang members. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Gomez in Newark, New Jersey, on Sept. 19, 2013, after he was charged with violent crime in aid of racketeering.
Gomez was placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list in April 2016.
Gomez is in custody pending extradition proceedings from Virginia to New Jersey.
Photo of Walter Yovany Gomez, courtesy of the FBI
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Originally published August 12, 2017.