Home Police and Fire Breaking News Fifth suspect, alleged MS-13 gang member, held on $250K bail

Fifth suspect, alleged MS-13 gang member, held on $250K bail

Albino Dejesus Medina, the fifth suspect in the shooting and machete attack last month in Southold, was arraigned Friday morning at Southold Town Justice Court before Judge William Price, and held in lieu of $250,000 cash bail, or $500,000 bond.

Represented by attorney Dale Atwell of East Hampton, Medina stood before the judge in a tan jacket and boots. Medina, Atwell said, had been living on Third Street in Greenport, working on an assignment for his brother’s Dennis Rias’s contracting company, Corignto Landscape and Irrigation of Bay Shore.

Atwell asked, since his client was not a “rich man,” that a reasonable bail be considered. Assistant District Attorney Sean Buckley said, due to the serious nature of the crime, that the the judge consider the higher amount. Price said the bail was lower than what was suggested on Thursday and set bail at $250,000 cash. Orders of protection were also issued for the victims.

Medina is slated for a grand jury indictment on Monday.

Medina initially appeared before  Justice William Price at Southold Justice Court Thursday morning; Price said Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota was recommending $500,000 bail. He said Medina could either proceed with the arraignment without an attorney, or the matter could be adjourned until one could be found; the arraignment was rescheduled for Friday morning.

According to Southold Town Police,  Medina, 20, of Bay Shore, was arrested on Wednesday on Long Island Avenue in Bay Shore in the early morning hours, and charged with three counts of assault in the first degree, a felony, and criminal possession of a weapon, police said.

He was involved in the shooting during the October 14 attack, which took place at 12:23 a.m. on South Harbor Road in Southold, police said.

Medina was taken into custody with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Riverhead Police, police said. Medina is a member of the MS-13 street gang and was part of the group who attacked two men in Southold, police added.

Medina is being held at Southold police headquarters  and will be arraigned in Southold Justice Court on Thursday .

“Good police work, ” led to the arrest, said Southold Police Detective Steven Harned. Harned said the arrest should “close” the investigation into the October 14 shooting, with all suspects apprehended. “Our investigation into local gangs will continue,” he said.

Last month, walking on crutches, a fourth suspect and alleged MS-13 gang member, 17, was indicted Tuesday before Judge William Condon at the Arthur J. Cromarty Criminal Court in Riverside.

Represented by Sayville-based attorney Eric Besso, Freddie Fernando Torres Campos, who turned 17 in custody, was charged with two counts of assault in the first degree, a felony, two counts of gang assault in the first degree, a felony, and two counts of assault in the second degree, a felony. He was held in lieu of $500,000 cash bail and $1 million bond and faces five to 25 years in jail, if convicted.

Assistant District Attorney Ryan Hunter painted a verbal picture of the violent attack, alleging that Torres  Campos, one of five suspects — the fifth suspect, arrested yesterday, was, according to sources, initially known only by a street name — members of the MS-13 street gang, plotted the attack against a rival Greenport street gang, planning to “attack and kill them.” According to Hunter, the five were in a vehicle and found the victims near their homes in Southold.

Torres Campos, he said, brandished a machete in the attack, his two co-defendants had guns, Hunter said. The three “ambushed” the two victims, Hunter said, shooting one in the abdomen and one in the back and elbow, while two others were “lookouts”. The victim shot in the abdomen remains hospitalized, Hunter said, while the victim shot in the back has had bullets removed, with one bullet too close to the spine to remove. He may be paralyzed, Hunter said.

Torres Campos, Hunter said, was shot in the foot by a co-defendant and struck by a .22 calibre bullet.

Besso said his client, from El Salvador, pleaded not guilty. Torres Campos, he said, now  lives  with a cousin, has a girlfriend and works as a landscaper, with limited resources. He asked the judge for lower bail; the request was denied due to the violent nature of the crime and the fact that Torres Campos is not a citizen, Condon said.

“He’s a young boy who was misled by the others,” Besso said.

Hunter said he had a signed written confession from Torres Campos.

The other three defendants in the case were indicted at Suffolk County Criminal Court last month.

Through an interpreter, Torres Campos told Judge Rudolph Bruer at his arraignment in Southold Town justice court that he lived on Route 25 in Southold but is from El Salvador and is a “non-citizen”; he has lived in the area for a year and works seasonally for a landscaper, but could not remember the name of the company.

Police said Torres Campos was was taken into custody at Southampton Hospital where he was admitted on the day of the shooting for treatment of a gunshot wound to his left ankle.

After the  two men were shot on South Harbor Road in Southold, police identified and arrested the first three suspects in connection with the crime — and said they are members of the MS-13 street gang.

According to Southold Town Police, Pedro Emilio Santamaria, 31, of Greenport, Jeremias Nathanael Recinos Torres, 19, of Aquebogue, and Walter Vasquez, 17, of Greenport, were arrested after the attack.

Attorney Lane Bubka, of Riverhead, representing Vasquez, said all had pleaded not guilty and said, despite claims to the contrary, there was “no reason to believe” the shootings and machete attack were gang related.

The judge ordered an order of protection for the two victims, whose names were not revealed. The victims remain hospitalized in Peconic Bay Medical Center.

A responding officer to the scene of the shooting spotted Santamaria and Recinos Torres  in a parked vehicle a short distance from the scene of the shooting — and a loaded .22 calibre semi-automatic handgun was discovered in the vehicle, police said.

During the subsequent investigation, it was learned that Vasquez was also involved, police said; he was arrested at Greenport High School, where he is a student.

Santamaria and Recinos Torres were charged with assault in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, felonies; Vasquez was charged with assault in the first degree, a felony, police said, Additionally, it was learned that Vasquez and Recinos Torres are in the United States illegally and are currently in removal proceedings, police said; the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.

The four previous suspects were remanded to the Suffolk County Correctional facility in lieu of the $500,000 bail set at their indictments.

Editor’s note: A criminal charge is an accusation. By law, a person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.