An MS-13 roundup in New York has resulted in the arrest of 17 high-ranking members and associates of the notorious gang, officials announced on Thursday. They were busted for activities in at least eight Long Island towns. Included in the arrests is the gang’s top leader in the entire Northeastern U.S.
“Not only did we arrest the highest-level Mara Salvatrucha leader in the Northeast who reports to MS-13 in El Salvador, but we sent a message that we will continue to investigate their violent crimes and bring justice to their victims,” DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt said in a statement.
The arrested MS-13 leader wasn’t named in the indictment, but he is in police custody, officials said.
According to a report from the New York Post, authorities began an investigation into several MS-13 members in May 2017. Local affiliates, or “cliques,” of the gang in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Texas were targeted.
Two Long Island-based cliques, operating in Hempstead, Freeport, Roosevelt, Uniondale, Glen Cove, Greenport and Central Islip, called “Hollywood” and “Sailors,” reported directly to MS-13 leaders in El Salvador.
“It started as a small-scale drug investigation on Long Island, a DEA investigation which is still growing, and as it went along and we brought other agencies on, we saw a violent threat that pushed us to get even more agencies involved and eventually apprehend this regional leader of MS-13,” Hunt said.“We didn’t start this case out to get this guy. But through great investigation, we found a pathway to the highest echelons of MS-13 on Long Island.”
The 17 defendants include a dozen members of MS-13. They were charged with multiple offenses, including second-degree murder, drug trafficking and conspiracy, and may face 25 years to life behind bars if they’re convicted on some of the more serious charges, officials said.
“This massive multi-agency investigation laid bare the global size, complexity, and brutality of MS-13, and these indictments strike a heavy blow to the gang’s operations on Long Island,” Nassau County DA Madeline Singas said in a statement. “These alleged gang members have terrorized vulnerable immigrant communities, trafficked deadly heroin into our neighborhoods, and this coalition of more than 22 agencies nationwide will continue to be unrelenting in our efforts to dismantle MS-13.”
Other indicted gang members include David Sosa Guevara and Victor Lopez, who allegedly murdered 15-year-old Angel Soler on July 21, 2017, The Post reports.
Authorities also seized 4 kilograms of heroin worth an estimated $1 million, officials said.
— Kristin Thorne (@KristinThorne) January 11, 2018
Seventeen high-ranking members and associates of the notorious MS-13 gang have been arrested, including the violent group’s Northeast leader https://t.co/cb5amCmgen
— New York Post (@nypost) January 11, 2018