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Long IslandCrime

Arrest made in suspected MS-13 killing, Nassau police say

José Quintanilla Cruz, 23, of Hempstead, in an

José Quintanilla Cruz, 23, of Hempstead, in an undated photo. Credit: NCPD

A Hempstead man was arrested in connection with the suspected MS-13 machete killing of a man whose remains were found in a shallow grave in East Meadow, Nassau County police said Wednesday night.

José Quintanilla Cruz, 23, faces a charge of second-degree murder in the August 2017 death of Carlos Rivas-Majano. He will be arraigned Thursday morning in First District Court in Hempstead, police said.

Police declined to provide further details, but said a press conference would be held Thursday morning.

Acting on a tip, investigators last month recovered the remains of Rivas-Majano, 21, of Uniondale, in a wooded area south of Glenn Curtiss Boulevard near Kellenberg Memorial High School.

He was lured there before being “viciously and barbarically” attacked by at least five MS-13 members, authorities have said.

Law enforcement sources have said Rivas-Majano, a suspected MS-13 gang member, was targeted because he was an informant. 

Carlos Benitez-Hernandez, 21, of Uniondale, was arrested last month and charged with second-degree murder in connection with the killing, police said. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bond.

Police said Benitez-Hernandez is a “self-admitted MS-13 member,” is from El Salvador and was in federal custody on an immigration detainer at the time of his arrest.


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