Ninety-six gang members from a notorious New York gang were busted in what may be the largest takedown in the state’s history.
Prosecutors announced the bust on Friday. The 96 members were a part of the MS-13 gang, which is based in Long Island. The arrests were all made in Suffolk County, and are the result of a nearly two-year county, state and federal investigation – and include nine cell, or “clique” leaders of the gang, Page Six reports. Police say the investigation stopped the El Salvador-based gang from setting a strong foundation in New York.
“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,” said Ray Donovan, special agent in charge of the DEA in New York.
Sixty-four suspects were taken into custody this past week as a part of a new indictment alleging murder conspiracy, drug trafficking, gang violence and the possession and sale of weapons, said Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini. All of the arrests will go without bail. “Murder conspiracy, that’s a bail eligible offense even under the new law, thank God,” Sini told reporters at an afternoon press conference that featured a table laid out with confiscated evidence, including 10 kilos of cocaine, 1,000 fentanyl pills, nine handguns, two long guns and numerous machetes.
Of those arrested are suspects aging from 16 to 59, and include illegal immigrants, U.S. citizens, and non-citizens who are in the country legally, according to officials said. The arrests include nine leaders of “cliques,” or regional branches of the gang, who operated throughout Suffolk County; officials say they were sent to New York by their leaders in El Salvador.