Jorge Luis Pagan-Sanchez was one of five people charged in the ambush killing of 17-year-old Brandin Guerrero.
Jorge Pagan-Sanchez enters the Washington County Superior Court on Wednesday. Credit: Ethan Genter / BDN

A Massachusetts man who was one of five people charged in connection with the 2021 shooting death of a 17-year-old in Machias pleaded guilty to felony murder and robbery Wednesday. 

Jorge Luis Pagan-Sanchez, 42, of Taunton, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to the charges in Washington County Superior Court for his involvement in what officials say was a planned ambush on New York teenager Brandin Guerrero in November 2021.

Police previously said that they believed Guerrero was part of a gang in New York City and was in Machias to sell drugs. Pagan-Sanchez and the other men had planned to jump him on High Street, ostensibly to steal a backpack of drugs Guerrero was carrying. 

Nathanael Genao and Emanuel Ramos, both from Massachusetts, Nathaniel Kerruish of East Machis and Juan Ortiz of New Hampshire also have been charged in the case. Police said the suspects all fled Maine after the Nov. 4, 2021, shooting. 

Guerrero was shot and killed as he and Kerruish were walking along High Street, according to police. Kerruish allegedly led Guerrero to a cemetery under the pretense of meeting someone who owed Kerruish money so Kerruish could buy heroin from Guerrero.

But while Kerruish and Guerrero were walking, two rental vehicles pulled up and the other four men got out. Ortiz and Ramos allegedly drew pistols and started shooting at Guerrero, hitting him twice.

Pagan-Sanchez, who did not shoot at Guerrero, was arrested about a month later in Massachusetts. 

Pagan-Sanchez is the first to enter a plea. He will be sentenced at a later date though the timing hasn’t been set. Both felony murder and robbery can carry a sentence of up to 30 years in prison. A person can be guilty of felony murder if they are involved in the commission, attempt to commit, or immediate flight after a murder or attempted murder.

The rest of the cases are all ongoing. Ortiz and Ramos are tentatively scheduled to go to trial in May, according to the attorney general’s office.