Alleged Shinnecock Killer, Drug Dealer Held

Michael Gaines. Independent/ Courtesy Southampton Police Department

Michael Gaines, the man state police say murdered a Shinnecock Indian Nation reservation resident in August, while at the same time being part of the drug distribution ring allegedly operating out of the reservation, was scheduled to be arraigned in Riverside December 10 on two sets of felony charges.

On August 16, according to an indictment by a grand jury November 19, Gaines, 42, broke into the residence of Mtundo Vanterpool, 43, and shot and killed him. During the same time frame, according to a separate indictment made by a grand jury that led to the arrest of at least 27 members of the alleged Shinnecock drug distribution ring, Gaines was involved in selling quantities of cocaine, with a specific sale cited by the grand jury taking place on July 17.

After the murder, state police say that Gaines fled the jurisdiction, but was picked up several days later in Bethel, NC after allegedly breaking into a car. He was held in Pitt County until his extradition last week.

The state police are overseeing both investigations.

Gaines is charged in the November 19 indictment with murder in the second degree, burglary with a deadly weapon, and burglary where a serious injury occurred. He faces five narcotics-related felonies out of the November 1 indictment as well, including a charge of selling narcotics, and possession with intent to sell. Gaines, who has a history of violence and drug activity for which he has served time in state prison, faces a possible sentence of life in prison if convicted on the murder charge alone.

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