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Alleged gang member arrested

Central Point police have arrested an alleged gang member known by the street name "Alien Boy" on assault and other charges for his suspected role in a stabbing in early January.

Manuel Enrique Castillo, 17, turned himself in to Central Point detective Brian Day on Tuesday to face charges stemming from a midday assault on Jan. 7 that sent a 19-year-old Central Point man to the hospital. He remained lodged at the Jackson County Jail Wednesday on charges of second-degree assault and menacing. Bail is set at $200,000.

Investigators said in a news release that Castillo,who doesn't have a permanent local address, claims to be a Norteño gang member.

Police linked him to a fight near the corner of Second and Manzanita streets at 11:35 a.m. Jan. 7.

The victim and another young man were walking north on Second Street near a bus stop when a pickup with five young Hispanic men passed by and someone in the pickup yelled something about Norteños, Central Point police Lt. Chuck Newell said.

The truck stopped and four men got out to confront the two walking down the street. After a verbal altercation, Castillo pulled a knife and stabbed the victim in the abdomen, Newell said.

Friends drove the victim to Rogue Valley Medical Center, where he was initially listed in serious condition while doctors evaluated the wound. He has since fully recovered, police said.

Investigators said Castillo fled the Rogue Valley after the stabbing and was reported to be in Portland and in California in the months since the assault. Central Point police sent information to law enforcement agencies across the region asking for help in finding Castillo.

Newell praised cooperative efforts across the county to rein in gang activity, which appears to be heating up locally.

"Everyone has a piece of what's going on out there and we're all trying to learn more about gang problems and these kinds of things," he said, noting that daytime assaults and people professing gang affiliation are both rare in Central Point.

The assault came as part of a string of stabbings and fights in Medford and White City in December and January as tensions grew between people associated with Norteños and Sureños, Hispanic gangs that grew out of the California prison system in the 1960s. Investigators are still working to determine the links between the people and the incidents.

When Castillo discovered he was the focus of a widespread investigation, he called a Central Point detective and arranged to turn himself in Monday, Newell said.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485 or at aburke@mailtribune.com

Alleged gang member arrested