Lights illuminate part of High Street in Machias and an adjacent yard as Maine State Police detectives examine the scene where a dead person was found Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

A fifth person has been charged with murder for the Nov. 4 killing in Machias of a New York teenager, which police say was the result of an ambush planned by an out-of-state drug gang.

Nathaniel Kerruish, 23, of East Machias is accused by police of helping to plan and carry out an ambush of Brandin Guerrero, 17, of Massapequa, New York, on High Street, a residential street in central Machias. Kerruish was indicted last week on felony charges of murder and robbery, according to the Maine attorney general’s office.

Also charged with murder in the killing are Massachusetts men Nathanael Genao, 23, Emanuel Ramos, 30, and Jorge Pagan-Sanchez, 41. Juan Ortiz, 21, of Concord, New Hampshire, also has been charged with murder in the case. All four men from out of state were charged and arrested in weeks immediately following the shooting.

Guerrero was believed to be part of the Bloods gang in New York City and was in Machias to sell drugs, according to an affidavit filed by Maine State Police in Washington County Superior Court in Machias. Guerrero and Ramos work for rival drug gangs, and the four men charged in the case planned an ambush of Guerrero, ostensibly to steal a backpack containing drugs that Guerrero was carrying.

Some of the men were staying with a house where Kerruish and his girlfriend lived at the time at 8 Beal St., which is about 200 feet from a nursing home and roughly 1,000 feet from where the ambush and shooting took place.

Genao, Ramos, Pagan-Sanchez and Ortiz all fled Maine after the shooting, which happened after midnight on Nov. 4 near a cemetery on High Street. People who live on the quiet street told police they heard gunshots at the time of the shooting and then saw cars speeding away, but Guerrero’s body was not found until the next morning.

Guerrero was shot as he and Kerruish were walking along High Street at about 20 minutes after midnight, according to the affidavit. Kerruish and the other men allegedly had worked out a plan by which they would rob Guerrero of drugs after Kerruish led Guerrero to the cemetery under the pretense of meeting someone who owed Kerruish $150, which Kerruish then would use to buy heroin off Guerrero.

While the pair walked west on High Street, two rental vehicles pulled up and stopped and the four other men got out. Ortiz and Ramos, who were together in one car, allegedly drew pistols and started shooting at Guerrero immediately, striking the teenager in the leg and back as he tried to run away, according to police.

Ortiz and Ramos allegedly then took Guerrero’s backpack off his back and all four men got back in the two vehicles and sped off, driving back south out of state directly from the shooting scene. Kerruish continued running west on High Street toward his home on Beal Street.

Fifteen days later, Nathanael Genao was arrested at his home in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Ortiz and Ramos were arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, on charges of killing Guerrero. Pagan-Sanchez was arrested Dec. 3 in Taunton, Massachusetts.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....