A nearly two-year investigation has resulted in the arrest of more than 230 MS-13 gang members and associates around the world, Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said Friday.
In Suffolk County, the investigation has led to criminal charges against 96 MS-13 gang members and associates and prevent seven murder plots. The charges include a special grand jury indictment unsealed this week, charging 45 MS-13 gang members and 19 associates for alleged murder conspiracies, drug trafficking, weapons possession and sales, gang violence, and other offenses.
The investigation included court-authorized eavesdropping by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office on approximately 215 phone lines, contributed to the arrest of more than 230 MS-13 gang members worldwide.
Agencies involved in the investigation included the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in collaboration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Marshals Service, the New York State Office of the Attorney General, the New York State Police, the Suffolk County Police Department, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, the Nassau County Police Department, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, the Hempstead Village Police Department, Port Washington Police Department and the Rockville Centre Police Department.
“Today’s arrests close the book on MS-13’s attempt to build an arsenal of brutality on the East Coast,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan. “For over two years, a wiretap investigation provided critical insight into MS-13’s goals of recruitment, expansion, brutality, violence and rule. This tool resulted in hundreds of MS-13 related arrests in NY, El Salvador and Baltimore; thwarted murders, robberies, beatings; and helped locate three murder victims’ remains. I applaud the dedicated work by law enforcement whose collaboration between districts is unsurpassed.”
“Every community on Long Island and around the state deserves to live in peace, and this MS-13 takedown is a major step toward that goal,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said. “I commend DA Tim Sini and all of our partners in this investigation. Our office is proud to have played a role in this ongoing fight to advance the cause of justice and safety in neighborhoods around New York State.”
The defendants charged in the Special Grand Jury indictment include the leadership and members of nine MS-13 cliques that operate on Long Island: Brentwood Locotes Salvatrucha (“BLS”), Coronado, Guanaco, Huntington Criminales Locotes Salvatrucha (“HCLS”), Jamaica Locotes Salvatrucha (“JLS”), Leeward Locotes Salvatrucha (“Leeward”), Park View Locotes Salvatrucha (“PVLS”), Carleton (“KLS”), and Western.
The investigation revealed that MS-13 gang members would sell narcotics, including cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and marijuana, and send the proceeds to gang leaders in El Salvador to purchase weapons, ammunition and additional drugs. As a result of this investigation, several local suppliers were identified, including six individuals who are charged by way of the Special Grand Jury indictment with Operating as a Major Trafficker, a class A-1 felony that carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison. The indictment also charges 13 additional defendants allegedly engaged in the supply of narcotics to MS-13 gang members.
During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized more than 10 kilograms of cocaine; distribution quantities of heroin and marijuana; and more than 1,000 counterfeit pills that appeared to be oxycodone but were found to be fentanyl.