Police have arrested a fourth person in connection with the murder of Julio Cesar Gonzales-Espantzay, a 19-year-old Valley Stream man whose body was discovered in the Massapequa Preserve, near Seaview and Ocean avenues, in March.
Antonio Cullal, 23, of Princeton Street in Hempstead, was arrested by U.S. marshals in Maryland on Oct. 6 and charged with second-degree murder. In a Newsday video taken at his arraignment the next day, Cullal appeared to display a MS-13 gang sign.
MS-13, or the Mara Salvatrucha, is believed by federal prosecutors to have thousands of members across the United States, primarily immigrants from Central America. The international gang originated in Los Angeles in the 1980s before spreading to Canada, Mexico and Central America. Detective Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick, commanding officer of the Nassau County Police Department’s Homicide Squad, said at a news conference on Oct. 7 that Cullal is undocumented.
Local authorities arrested Laura Christina Campos, 28, of Bladensburg, Md., on Sept. 28 and charged her with second-degree murder. She was arraigned on Sept. 29 in First District Court.
Carlos Portillo, 22, of Princeton Street in Hempstead, was arrested on July 29 in connection with what the NCPD termed a homicide, according to a news release, and Kevin Granados-Coreas, 19, of Rosedale, Queens, was arrested on Aug. 15. Both were charged with second-degree murder. Portillo was arraigned on July 30, and Granados-Coreas, on Aug. 16, both in First District Court.
According to published reports, all four were members of MS-13, and the two beat, stabbed and shot Gonzales-Espantzay in an effort to advance in the gang. His body was reportedly dumped in Massapequa two months before it was discovered.
Authorities said Gonzales-Espantzay was lured into a car on Jan. 28 with the promise of marijuana and sexual favors before being killed.
He is not believed to have been an MS-13 member. Bill Heidenreich, superintendent of the Central High School District, told the Herald in March that the district had no record of Gonzales-Espantzay attending its schools.
Both President Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions have visited Long Island in recent months to promise federal action against gang violence.
Trump mentioned the gang by name in a July speech to local law enforcement at Suffolk Community College. “Together, we’re going to restore safety to our streets and peace to our communities,” he said, “and we’re going to destroy the vile criminal cartel MS-13, and many other gangs.”
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