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FBI agent testifies gang member confessed to killings

A Suffolk County Sheriff's Department photo of an

A Suffolk County Sheriff's Department photo of an MS13 gang tattoo on a gang member. Credit: Handout, 2007

An FBI agent testified Monday in federal court that an MS-13 gang member confessed to him about taking part in two killings, shortly after he was arrested last year.

The agent, Reynaldo Tariche, said that Carlos Ortega, 23, of Brentwood admitted in a signed confession that he was involved in 2010 in the killings of Mario Quijada, 25, of Far Rockaway, and David Sandler, 20, of Brentwood.

In the case of Sandler, Ortega said he actually fired the shot that killed the Brentwood man, Tariche said under questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham.

Ortega, and MS-13 leader Heriberto Martinez, 25, of Far Rockaway, are on trial in federal district court in Central Islip in connection with a total of five killings.

Tariche, the lead agent in the FBI Long Island Gang Task Force's investigation into the five killings, said that in the Sandler case, Ortega confessed that he and three other members or associates of MS-13 "were looking for rivals" on the night of Feb. 17, 2010.

"They called a Latin King that sold marijuana," and he met Sandler, who was with another person, Tariche testified, reading from Ortega's confession. "I got out of the car and I was carrying a .38. I fired the .38 at the Latin King when we went to buy the marijuana. I fired at two of them and we then ran to the car."

Sandler was killed and his friend was wounded, but recovered, according to previous testimony.

Sandler was not a member of the Latin Kings, but he was mistaken for one because he hung out with members of that rival gang, sources have said.

In the case of Quijada, Ortega confessed that he was involved in the killing of the fellow MS-13 member on a beach in Far Rockaway on March 17, 2010, because he wouldn't attack rivals, Tariche said.

Quijada "didn't want to put in work and the decision was that he had to be 'done,' " Ortega admitted to him, Tariche said. "We went to the beach . . . One of the guys tried to fire the gun, but it didn't work. So then . . . [another gang member] 'hit' him with the machete . . ."

Tariche said that at the end of his confession, Ortega told him, "I feel very bad about what happened those two nights."

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