Suffolk County police in Long Island, N.Y., arrested 31 MS-13 gang members Friday in the wake of several teen murders.
Six gang members were put into federal custody while the other 25 were charged by New York authorities. The arrests follow the discovery of 18-year-old Jose Pena-Hernandez’s body Oct. 16.
Family members of Pena-Hernandez reported in June that the teen was missing. Ultimately his body was found near an abandoned psychiatry facility in Brentwood, Long Island.
Brentwood has been shaken for several months as six teens from Brentwood have been found dead. Authorities suspect that all six murders are the work of the violent MS-13 street gang.
Pena-Hernandez’s death marks the sixth gang-related killing in the past months. Despite the several arrests of many MS-13 members, authorities have not specifically charged any of them with the murders of the several Brentwood High School teenage victims.
The 31 arrests make up “a a significant percentage,” of MS-13 members in the Brentwood area, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini told The New York Times. “This is not 1 percent — this is a major shot against the criminal enterprise” Sini made clear.
Authorities hope that the show of force with so many arrests will begin to “decimate” the MS-13 gang and greatly reduce criminal activity in the Brentwood community according to New York Daily News. Police believe that the abandoned psychiatric facility where Pena-Hernandez’s body was found is a preferred burial ground for MS-13 thugs after they kill people.
MS-13 is a street gang that was formed in 1980s Los Angeles primarily by El Salvadoran immigrants. The gang thrives in the two Central American countries where many of its members originally come from.
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