More than 96 members of MS-13 were arrested on Friday in Suffolk County, New York, as the result of a 23-month long investigation conducted by local, state, and federal authorities, prosecutors announced at a crowded press conference. Those arrested included nine “clique” leaders and 19 drug suppliers.
Prosecutors displayed confiscated evidence, including “10 kilos of cocaine, 1,000 fentanyl pills, nine handguns, two long guns and numerous machetes.”
According to Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini, the multinational investigation foiled MS-13’s expansion plans:
“We’ve learned that through this investigation MS-13 had plans for establishing an East Coast foundation here in New York for the gang. that will never happen. This investigation has resulted in over 230 arrests of MS-13 gang members here in New York, throughout this country, and in El Salvador. They include illegal immigrants, US citizens, and those with some sort of legal status.”
President Trump has already taken note of the arrests, tweeting:
We are getting MS-13 gang members, and many other people that shouldn’t be here, out of our Country! https://t.co/Cfk4iIBVTQ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2019
During the course of the investigation, authorities were able to prevent “countless acts of violence over the last 23 months, including seven murders here in Suffolk County,” Sini said. In addition, according to DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, because of the investigation “we cleared three homicides here, on Long Island, and three in Virginia.”
While these arrests “dealt a major blow” to MS-13’s infrastructure, Sini says the battle is (obviously) “absolutely not” over.