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3rd Miller Place Gang Murder Suspect Nabbed

Byron-Lopez
Bryon “Viruz” Lopez posing with a machete in a Facebook photo provided by prosecutors.

A federal grand jury indicted a third reputed MS-13 gang member for his alleged role in killing a fellow gangster they suspected was an informant in Miller Place last year, authorities said.

U.S. Marshals apprehended 19-year-old Milton “Diabolico” Contreras, a member of the gang’s Brentwood chapter, in Kansas City, Kansas, where he was charged Thursday with conspiracy to commit murder in-aid-of racketeering, murder in-aid-of racketeering, obstruction-of-justice murder and firearms offenses.

“The prosecution of these three defendants is a part of the office’s ongoing commitment to dismantle MS-13,” said  Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, which intends to extradite Contreras to Long Island.

Prosecutors said the 19-year-old suspect and two other alleged gang members lured Sidney Valverde, a fellow MS-13 member who was also 19, to Miller Place Beach under the guise of conducting business there, when they allegedly shot him in the back of the head on Feb. 25, 2014.

Investigators believe that the gang killed Valverde because they suspected him of cooperating with federal law enforcement, authorities said. A beachcomber found his body two weeks after he was slain.

Byron “Viruz” Lopez, the 23-year-old alleged leader of a Queens chapter of the gang, was previously accused of ordering the murder. He has pleaded not guilty to the same charges as Contreras. Also pleading not guilty to the same charges was the third suspect, Oscar Wellman Espinoza-Merino, also known as “Speedy” and “Petey,” a 32-year-old member of the gang’s Brentwood chapter.

The arrests were the result of a joint investigation involving Suffolk County police, New York City police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives and Firearms.

If convicted, all three face up to life in prison.

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