Law enforcement officers are cracking down on MS-13 gang members just one day after President Donald J. Trump traveled to Long Island to demand a crackdown on the “vile criminal cartel.”
Police raided four Suffolk County bars early Saturday, believed to be sanctuaries for members of the deadly gang.
The bars were raided by authorities in a coordinated strike at about 1:15 a.m. and an illegal gambling den was found in the basement of the Santa Rosa Restaurant at 118 West Hills Road.
Five men were arrested there, identified as Santiago Garcia, 53; José Garcia-Garcia, 25; Nicomades Biloreo, 51; Carlos Velasquez, 39; and José Guevara Canales, 20. Most of the men are known to live in the area.
Officials are apparently charging the men with everything they can. All are facing charges of promoting gambling and possession of a “gambling device.” In addition, Canales faces weapons-possession charges.
Bar owner Nelly Garcia, 42, was hit with eight summonses for violating liquor laws and two summonses for fire-code violations, authorities said.
Police also took Celso Lopez Merino, 56, of Huntington into custody for drug possession inside La Perfecta Bar & Restaurant and cited manager Jesus Rivera for liquor and buildings violations.
El Triunfo Taverna Corp., located at 1789 New York Ave., received one fire-code violation.
Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s investigative arm, Homeland Security Investigations, arrested Alexander Sanchez, 31, inside Safiro Bar because he has twice re-entered the country after being deported, officials said.
Cops raided the bars “because of MS-13 and other illegal activity,” according to a statement, but officials would not confirm whether the men arrested are suspected MS-13 members.
VOW FROM TRUMP & SESSIONS
President Trump and Attorney General Sessions have vowed to fight against MS-13 gangs in the United States. Sessions has increased pressure from the Department of Justice on the gang and is gaining cooperation from law enforcement agencies around the country. The DOJ has been busy arresting MS-13 members, as well as targeting other dangerous gang members.
Sessions said this administration will hunt the members down, imprison them, and ultimately deport them.
“We can devastate this gang, we’re going after them,” Sessions told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson back in April.
The agency continues to prove that it is one of the most effective in the Trump administration, making positive policy changes, opening important investigations, and making key arrests. Some of those include:
- Requiring sanctuary cities to give federal immigration authorities access to jails.
- A new policy on the civil asset forfeiture program.
- Opening several investigations into the criminal leaks that are plaguing the White House.
- The arrest of members of an ATM crime group.
- Taking down a banker conspiring to defraud the United States.
- Busting a massive illegal drug marketplace.
- Shutting down a child pornography ring.
MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha; also known as simply MS or Mara) is an international criminal gang that originated in Los Angeles, California, US in the 1980s. The gang later spread to many parts of the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America, and is active in urban and suburban areas. Most members are ethnically of Central American origin (principally El Salvador).
In the U.S., the MS-13 has an especially heavy presence in Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area in California; the Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas of Fairfax County, Virginia, Montgomery County, Maryland, and Prince George’s County, Maryland; Queens, New York; Long Island, New York; Newark, New Jersey, Plainfield, New Jersey; Jersey City, New Jersey; Elizabeth, New Jersey; the Boston, Massachusetts area; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Houston, Texas. There is also a presence of MS-13 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Members of MS are characterised by tattoos covering the body and also often the face, and by the use of their own sign language. They are notorious for their use of violence and a subcultural moral code that predominantly consists of merciless revenge and cruel retributions. This cruelty of the distinguished members of the “Maras” or “Mareros” earned them a path to be recruited by the Sinaloa Cartel battling against Los Zetas in an ongoing drug war in Mexico. Their wide-ranging activities have drawn the attention of the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who have initiated wide-scale raids against known and suspected gang members, arresting hundreds across the country.
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