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Pontieri Leaves for Ecuador Tonight

Patchogue mayor to spend the weekend in Marcelo Lucero's hometown.

Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri is scheduled to leave Wednesday night for Gualaceo, Ecuador, the hometown of Marcelo Lucero, who was killed in the Suffolk County village in 2008.

Pontieri said he was making the visit because "it's time to take a step forward. The tragedy links us, but the connections are the families. It's important to move ahead."

Pontieri returns to Long Island on Monday night.

Marco Tapia, an official from Gualaceo had visited Patchogue earlier this year.

Lucero was murdered in November 2008 by seven teenagers who were out looking to attack Latinos. In April, Jeffrey Conroy, 19, was sentenced in the hate crime to 25 years for first-degree manslaughter. Conroy is appealing the conviction.

There are about 1,200 Ecuadorians living in Patchogue, Pontieri said.

It's been a busy week for the mayor. Earlier this week he was honored by the Long Island Housing Partnership for leading the area's redevelopment efforts.

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