Federal prosecutors filed charges Friday against six members of the MS-13 street gang, accusing them of committing four killings on Long Island, as well as a number of armed robberies, according to officials.
The indictment supersedes an earlier one in which several of the defendants already were charged in some of the cases. The six were not all charged with all the crimes.
Among the slayings in which individual defendants were charged, according to court papers, are:
The November 2009 slaying in Brentwood of Christopher Hamilton, who was mistakenly thought to be a member of a rival gang
The August 2010 killing in Brentwood of Rigoberto Gomez, an MS-13 member who was believed to be cooperating with law enforcement
The September 2010 slaying in Brentwood of Bayron Vasquez-Nunez, who also was thought to have been cooperating with law enforcement
The Castro slaying caused a controversy when Suffolk police defended their decision keeping his body uncovered in the street for seven hours. Police at the time said covering the body might have involved tampering with evidence.
The only defendant who was arraigned Friday was Edwin Molina, 21, of Hempstead, who was charged with murder in Castro's death.
Eastern District Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham said at Molina's arraignment in U.S. District Court in Central Islip that Molina and unnamed gang members, committed "an extraordinary brutal murder . . . stabbing him [Castro] dozens of times."
Molina pleaded not guilty and U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco held him without bail.
Molina's attorney Glenn Obedin, of Central Islip, declined to comment after the arraignment.
Because Molina faces a possible death penalty if convicted of killing Castro, the judge said he would appoint a second attorney, who specializes in death-penalty defenses, to also represent Molina, as is customary in possible capital cases.
Judge Bianco also said that because Molina is a citizen of El Salvador he was entitled to have that country's consulate informed of the case against him, but Moreno, without explanation, declined the offer.
The five other defendants, who are in custody, are scheduled to be arraigned at a later date.
The robberies include that of Pollo Campero restaurant in Lindenhurst in February 2009; Wilson Express, a Patchogue check-cashing business, in December 2009; and a conspiracy to rob a Smithtown McDonald's restaurant in January 2010.