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Sources: Authorities searching for body at Massapequa Preserve

The 432-acre preserve is where officials said they recovered the body of a man police believe was the victim of a 2017 MS-13 street gang killing.

On Friday, Nassau police said they are investigating an area in Massapequa Preserve that was the site of a homicide investigation last year. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

Authorities went digging for a body Friday in the Massapequa Preserve that is believed to be related to possible MS-13 gang activity, law enforcement sources said. 

The death is not believed to be recent, the sources said. The area of the preserve is near the site of a homicide investigation last year.

“We are conducting an investigation in the Massapequa Preserve,” a Nassau police spokesman said.

The spokesman declined to comment on the nature of the investigation.

A law enforcement source said investigators received information that human remains of an MS-13 homicide victim are buried at the site. Police have searched the same area in the past based on other tips, the source said, but this time investigators are getting the information from a “more credible source.”

Investigators have “a better witness that the body’s there,” the source said.

Friday’s search began in the morning and includes the use of cadaver dogs. As of mid-afternoon, the remains have not been located and police were still searching into early evening.    

Nassau police have cordoned off several entrances to the preserve on side streets off Sunrise Highway. 

Authorities brought a digger into the woods, as well as a State Police K-9 unit cross-trained to detect narcotics and cadavers. 

Nassau’s Homicide Unit is in the preserve, as well as investigators from the Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations. 

The 432-acre preserve is where officials said they recovered the body of a man police believe was the victim of a 2017 MS-13 street gang killing. Julio Cesar Gonzales-Espantzay, 19, was stabbed and shot multiple times, police said.

It was unclear how long the new search would go on, officials said.

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