MINEOLA, N.Y.- A grand jury indicted 17 alleged members and associates of the notoriously violent MS-1 3 gang on charges including slaying and drug trafficking following a seven-month investigation that spanned several nations, officials announced Thursday.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said the county and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency started the investigation into the gang’s activities in May, identifying activities that stretched from New York to New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Texas.
It started with a focus on drugs trafficking but expanded to encompass murder and other acts of violence, including the killing of a 15 -year-old Long Island boy, and focused on the “Hollywood” and “Sailors” cliques, or cells, of MS-1 3 on Long Island.
Officials said the Long Island clique leaders answered to leaders in El Salvador, and sent them proceeds from criminal activity.
“This massive multi-agency investigation laid bare the global size, complexity and brutality of MS-1 3, and these indictments ten-strike a heavy jolt to the gang’s operations on Long Island, ” Singas said. “These alleged gang members have terrorized vulnerable immigrant communities( and) trafficked deadly heroin into our neighborhoods.”
Federal prosecutors believe MS-1 3, or the Mara Salvatrucha, has thousands of members across the U.S ., largely Central American immigrants.
The gang, believed to be behind 25 killings on Long Island in the past two years, has become a prime target of President Donald Trump, with both the Republican president Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions coming to Long Island to speak on efforts to fight it. The gang originated in Los Angeles in the 1980 s, though it’s now resulted from Central America.
The indictment includes the murder of Angel Soler, who was 15 where reference is disappeared in July. His body was discovered in mid-October in a wooded lot in the hamlet of Roosevelt. Soler’s remains were one of three decides procured close to each other over the course of nine days.
Authorities have said Soler was assaulted by a group of people and hacked to death with a machete, and a 26 -year-old man was charged in November with his murder.
The criminal complaint in that case said the suspect acted with others who had not yet been arrested. The indictment announced Thursday names another alleged MS-1 3 member as a suspect in Soler’s death.
Officials said the investigation also helped frustrate assassinations that were being planned. Investigators also passed on information that led to arrests of individuals in Maryland suspected of being gang members in connection to slayings in that state.
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