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MS-13 gangsters charged in Hempstead bouncer slaying

Four alleged MS-13 gang members - including a gunman officials said goes by the street name "Demente" - have been charged in the killing of a Hempstead bouncer, while a fifth man is in custody and awaits a hearing.

Vidal Espinal, 22, and Roger Alvarado, 29, both originally from El Salvador, appeared separately in a federal court in Central Islip Tuesday, where they were charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

A federal prosecutor said the pair and others acted as part of the MS-13 gang in the killing of David Nestor Moreno in Hempstead on March 6.

Moreno, 22, who worked as a bouncer, was shot between the eyes as he opened the door of El Rancho Bar and Grill. He was pronounced dead nearly a week later at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, according to Hempstead police.

Police had secured Espinal's arrest warrant, carried out by Long Island-based FBI agents early Tuesday, by using just a physical description and his nickname but without having his actual name. Initial court documents listed him as "name unknown." Magistrate Judge E. Thomas Boyle Tuesday ordered his name be amended on court documents.

Federal prosecutor John Durham named Espinal, whose alleged street name means "The Demented," as the gunman but said nothing about a possible motive.

Another man and a male juvenile were also arraigned Monday in connection with the homicide, according to a law enforcement source. A fifth, a man, is in custody and awaits arraignment.

Neither defendant was asked to enter a plea at the preliminary hearing. All charging documents remain sealed by order of the court, according to a spokesman for the Eastern District of New York.

They were not read during the brief arraignments. Other than speaking quietly through a translator with their appointed attorneys, the two men did not speak in court.

Espinal and Alvarado, both undocumented immigrants, declined to request the El Salvador consulate in Brentwood be informed of their incarceration. They were held without bail.

Attorney Kevin Keating of Garden City, who represents Alvarado, declined to comment outside of court. Espinal's attorney could not be immediately reached.

Durham said the cases will be presented in coming weeks to a grand jury, which could consider more serious charges that could allow federal prosecutors to pursue a possible death penalty.

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