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Accused gang member held on federal murder indictment

An accused MS-13 gang member from Long Island who authorities say killed a Queens man in 2011 could face the death penalty, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Fausto Campos, of Southold, pleaded not guilty Monday at his arraignment in U.S. District Court in Central Islip on murder and firearms charges.

Campos is one of 14 accused MS-13 gang members -- seven of whom were indicted last week -- charged with operating a criminal enterprise in Suffolk and Nassau counties that prosecutors said was responsible for murders, robberies and assaults as well as narcotics trafficking, extortion, witness tampering and witness retaliation from 2007 to 2014.

Campos, a citizen of El Salvador who has been living in the United States since 1999, was in jail on a probation violation when he was taken into federal custody Monday on Wednesday's indictment. Campos is serving a six-month jail sentence for violating his probation on a driving while intoxicated conviction, authorities said.

Campos' attorney, Steven Brill of Manhattan, didn't request bail for his client, but told the judge he "reserved the right" to make a bail application in the future.

Campos arrived in court with a bag of laundry and a $23 check, which Brill took at the close of the hearing. Brill said he would attempt to give the items to a Campos family member.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham asked for Campos to be held without bail, citing his "risk of flight and danger to the community." Durham told the judge that Campos' crimes are death penalty-eligible.

Campos is charged with the June 2011 shooting death of Norman Mizzell, who was killed in his Queens home.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph F. Bianco ordered Campos held without bail. Campos is due back in court for a status conference Feb. 6.

Mario Diaz, who is also named in the indictment on charges that he fatally shot Jose Vallejo in Kennedy Park in Hempstead in September 2012, appeared before Bianco Monday with his new attorney, Michael Gold of Manhattan. Diaz, who was arrested last Wednesday, also could face the death penalty. Diaz has pleaded not guilty, Gold said.

Gold said Diaz has "lived on Long Island his whole life" and has worked for the last three years washing trucks. He declined to comment on the allegations.

Diaz's parents and other family members also attended the hearing. They declined to comment.

With Robert Kessler


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