Metro

Suspected gang member charged in teenager’s 2016 death in East Boston

A suspected gang member who authorities allege stabbed a teenager to death near the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation in 2016 appeared briefly Monday in East Boston Municipal Court to face a charge of murder.

Jorge G. Melgar-Fuentes was tracked down by federal agents to Houston, where he was taken into custody and returned to Boston. With the help of a Spanish interpreter, the 19-year-old pleaded not guilty to a single count of murder.

Judge John E. McDonald Jr. ordered Melgar-Fuentes held without bail.

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His defense attorney, John Galvin, did not challenge the request from Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office that Melgar-Fuentes be held without bail.

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Prosecutors did not detail the incident in court. But a State Police report filed in a co-defendant’s case said that the murder of the 16-year-old victim, identified as Carlos E. Nunez-Villatoro, occurred during heightened tensions between two Central American street gangs, the MS-13 and the 18th Street gang.

The body of Nunez-Villatoro was found on Dec. 9, 2016, after he had been missing for about a month, authorities have said.

“These two gangs are both recognized as transnational criminal organizations by [the US Justice Department] and are well known to be arch rivals,’’ Trooper David M. Swan wrote in a report filed in East Boston court.

The police report filed in connection with Melgar-Fuentes’ arrest did not include any information about the evidence against him.

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His co-defendant, Moris J. Landaverde, is charged with accessory to murder after the fact and is currently being held without bail after pleading not guilty. In a report filed in his case, the Landaverde, 21, is described as an East Boston resident who “confessed to his involvement” with the Belle Isle homicide.

“Landaverde detailed his and the other co-conspirators involvement in the murder” of the teenager.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.