Immigration officials in New York have managed to arrest thirty-nine members of MS-13. The brutal gang has its roots in Central America.
The Majority of the gang members were arrested on Long Island in Suffolk County. The deadly zone has been attributed to 17 murders by MS-13 since Jan. 1, 2016. The recent incident involved four young men that were found dead in Central Islip in April.
Gangs that operate across international borders have been a hot target to authorities conducting Operation Matador, which is looking into eradicating them. The operation constitutes of agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and affiliated Homeland Security investigators, as well as local law enforcement.
Apart from the 39 members of MS-13, six members of other violent gangs, such as the Latin Kings and the Sureños, were arrested, officials said. The immigration agency reported that people are considered confirmed gang members if they admit membership or have tattoos of gang symbols, among other factors.
The immigration authorities pointed out that most of the gang members arrested come from El Salvador and Honduras. Five others are from Mexico, and two are from Guatemala, according to Twenty had criminal histories, ranging from misdemeanors like disorderly conduct to felony assault and weapons charges.
Around twelve had originally crossed into America as unaccompanied minors. Three others entered the country via a federal initiative called the Special Immigrant Juvenile program, which is designed to help abused or neglected children find safe haven in the United States.
MS-13, also known as La Mara Salvatrucha, was started in the 1980s in Los Angeles by refugees from El Salvador but has grown into a transnational organization.
The incident, which saw the four bodies found in Central Islip, attracted the attention of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He visited Long Island in April and spoke with local law enforcement officials, vowing to eradicate the gang by cracking down on illegal immigration. Deportation proceedings will begin for some of those not facing criminal charges.