96 MS-13 Gang Members and Associates Arrested in New York

December 20, 2019 Updated: December 20, 2019
FONT BFONT SText size

On Friday, law enforcement declared the infamous El Salvadorian gang MS-13 was rendered “inoperable” in Suffolk County, New York.

Ninety-six MS-13 members and associates were charged with 77 counts involving conspiracy to commit murder, illegal firearm possession, and illegal drug possession, reported ABC.

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said that as a result of the 23-month, multi-agency investigation/operation, seven alleged murder conspiracies were foiled, and 200 were arrested across the country and in El Salvador, becoming one of the largest takedowns of violent gangs in the history of the United States.

Of 96 of the arrested in New York, 66 were gang members and 19 were drug suppliers.

ICE deputy discusses MS-13 gang
File photo of ICE Deputy Director Tom Homan in front of MS-13 gang-related photos during a press briefing at the White House, on July 27, 2017. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The arrests included nine gang clique leaders. Sini said that the “operation has delivered a major blow to MS-13 operations and recruitment in the region.”

“As a result of this investigation, we have brought charges against 96 defendants, including the leaders of nine cliques operating in Suffolk County,” Sini said. “This operation helped create an environment which led to the ending of the New York Program, which was orchestrated by the leadership of MS-13 in El Salvador to develop a greater presence on Long Island. Additionally, as a result of reliable intelligence developed by this investigation, law enforcement has prevented countless acts of violence over the past two years, including seven murder plots.”

He added that operation involved the “largest wiretap operation in the United States.”

During the operation, authorities seized 10 kilograms of cocaine, fentanyl, drug ledgers, handguns, and machetes, as well as more than $200,000.

“This depicts how brutal and savage this gang is,” Sini said while holding a machete, “To the MS-13, we are coming for you.”

“This is one of the most significant and far-reaching takedowns of MS-13 and its associates to date, and further decimates their ability to terrorize Long Island communities, recruit new members and distribute deadly drugs on our streets,” said Suffolk County Sheriff Dr. Errol Toulon, Jr. “I appreciate the role of Sheriff’s Office investigators in this collaborative effort, and congratulate all of the federal, state and local law enforcement partners for their persistent and tenacious pursuit of these dangerous criminals.”

President Donald Trump has addressed numerous times the gang problems and particularly MS-13. He personally visited Long Island twice in 2018. On July 28, he went to Suffolk County to talk to law enforcement officers who have been working to reverse the surge in MS-13 violence.

Epoch Times Photo
President Donald Trump speaks at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood, New York on July 28, 2017.  (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“Few communities have suffered worse at the hands of these MS-13 thugs than the people of Long Island,” Trump said at an event in the town of Ronkonkoma. “They have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields.”

Epoch Times Photo
(ICE.gov screenshot)

“They kidnap, they extort, they rape and they rob. They prey on children, they shouldn’t be here,” Trump said in July 2017. “It’s time for every member of MS-13 to be in fear. Look over their shoulder. Look in their rear view mirror, because ICE and its partners are coming hard, and we’re coming strong.”

In the 1980s, MS-13 formed in Los Angeles as Salvadorans fled a civil war. MS-13 then spread across the United States and Central America, with its HQ in El Salvador.

In fiscal year 2018, Homeland Security Investigations arrested 959 MS-13 gang members and associates. Enforcement and Removal Operations removed about 6,000 gang members, of which 1,332 were MS-13 members, a 24-percent increase from fiscal year 2017.