U.S. Marshals Task Force Arrest Homicide Suspects in York

By Christopher Dornblaser, The York Dispatch

The York City Police Department and U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force located and arrested two brothers police say were involved in last weekend’s homicide of a 22-year-old York City man.

Juan Castro-Oquendo, 35, of 134 Jefferson Ave., and Jose “Menor” Castro-Oquendo, 31, of 948 E. Market St., Apt. 2, are charged with criminal homicide and criminal conspiracy to commit homicide.

The Castro-Oquendo brothers are accused of being involved in an altercation that led to the death of Lester Cortes-Cotto early Sunday morning.


According to charging documents filed for the two, Cortes-Cotto left a gathering in the first block of East Maple Street to purchase cigarettes at a store up the street.

Before arriving at the store, Cortes-Cotto encountered Jose Castro-Oquendo, police said.


Jose Castro-Oquendo felt  “disrespected” by a look Cortes-Cotto gave him, and there was a confrontation between the two, according to police.

During the altercation, Jose Castro-Oquendo punched Cortes-Cotto in the face, court documents state.

Lester Cortes-Cotto
Lester Cortes-Cotto

The two began fighting, police said, and at that point Juan Castro-Oquendo came to the scene.

Police say one witness said that Juan Castro-Oquendo was circling Cortes-Cotto and his brother, “grabbing at” both of them as the two fought.

Jose Castro-Oquendo was seen grabbing Cortes-Cotto from behind in a “bear hug,” documents state. Police say Juan Castro-Oquendo then grabbed his brother by the arm and dragged him away.

During the altercation, Cortes-Cotto’s gun was removed from his waistband, and a shot was fired, documents state.

The witness told police that Cortes-Cotto was found with multiple bleeding injuries to his torso, documents state.

Another witness told police the Castro-Oquendo brothers fled the area eastbound on Maple Street after the shot was fired, police said.

Two witnesses were able to identify the brothers as suspects, court documents state.

Police were dispatched about 1:30 a.m. to the first block of East Maple Street for a report of shots fired, according to a news release.

Within minutes of that call, Cortes-Cotto arrived by private vehicle at York Hospital, where he died at 2:39 a.m., according to a news release by the York County Coroner’s Office.

On Monday, the coroner’s office said Cortes-Cotto’s cause of death was multiple sharp-force injuries.

York City Police obtained warrants for the brothers Monday, and the two were arrested about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday in the 900 block of East Market Street.

The two were arraigned on the charges Tuesday morning and remanded to York County Prison without bail. Neither has an attorney listed.

Their preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. July 28 at District Judge Ronald Haskell Jr.’s office.

United States Marshal Martin J. Pane
United States Marshal Martin J. Pane

“Along with our law enforcement partners it’s the Marshals Services duty to ensure those charged with serious crimes have their day in court,” said U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Martin J. Pane.

“It is my sincere hope that the victims’ family will find some measure of comfort knowing the suspects in this case will face justice.” 

The USMS worked jointly in this investigation with officers from the York City Police Department, York County Sheriff’s Office and the Pennsylvania State Police. 

The U.S. Marshals Service is the nation’s primary fugitive hunting organization and captures more federal fugitives each year than all other law enforcement agencies combined.


Annually, U.S. Marshals arrest more than 50 percent of all federal fugitives and serve more federal warrants than all other federal agencies combined.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.

America’s Oldest Federal Law Enforcement Agency