A Springfield man who was being sought in a gang-related slaying in Annandale in 2002 has been captured in Canada, where he had assumed a new identity, police said. He has been returned to Fairfax County to face charges of first-degree murder.

The fatal shooting of Ngoc Quy Doan Nguyen, 21, outside the Happi Billiards & Cafe on Little River Turnpike was not a mystery to Fairfax County homicide detectives. Within hours of the incident Dec. 27, 2002, police obtained a warrant for Henh Chu Ngo, then 19.

Police said Nguyen had been standing in the parking lot of the pool hall about 10:10 p.m. when he was approached by several men and shot in the upper body. Officer Bud Walker confirmed yesterday that the slaying was thought to be gang-related, and Canadian police said Ngo was a member of the Vietnamese gang Asian Dragon Family. Ngo has a tattoo of a dragon on his right arm, police said.

Sgt. Tony Gollob of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the Immigration Task Force, a joint Canadian law enforcement operation, received a tip from U.S. authorities in February that Ngo was in the Toronto area. He said a check of phone records between Canada and the United States led to Bobby Chang, a resident of Ontario who also owned a house in Montreal.

A comparison of Chang's driver's license photo and Ngo's photo showed that they were the same man, Gollob said. Canadian police began watching the Montreal house, as well as a neighborhood in Toronto's West End, Gollob said.

The task force made the case a high priority and worked round-the-clock, Gollob said, "due to the fact he's wanted for a homicide and it's gang-related. It's basically a public safety issue." Investigators believe Ngo entered Canada illegally shortly after Nguyen was killed.

After Ngo's car was spotted in Toronto on Feb. 10, the task force swooped into the area and waited. "We initiated a high-risk arrest and took him at gunpoint," Gollob said.

Ngo was carrying a loaded handgun when he was arrested, and Gollob said Canadian police are investigating whether the gun was the one used in the slaying of Nguyen. Gollob said it was the same size, a 9mm, though that is a common type of gun.

Canadian police intend to charge Ngo with several weapons violations but waited until after he was deported to the United States in early June, Gollob said. He said Ngo did not contest deportation.

Ngo, now 21, was delivered to authorities in Niagara County, N.Y., by the task force in early June. Ngo then agreed to be extradited to Virginia. He was arraigned June 16 on the murder charge, and a preliminary hearing was set for Aug. 1.

Ngo has hired veteran defense lawyers Peter D. Greenspun and Jonathan Shapiro to represent him. The two lawyers recently won a dismissal of all Fairfax charges against John Allen Muhammad in the sniper shooting case. They were appointed by the courts to represent Muhammad and also handled his first case in Prince William County, which resulted in a conviction and death sentence.

Greenspun and Shapiro did not return calls yesterday.

Henh Chu Ngo is suspected in a 2002 killing in Annandale.