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Gov. Cuomo Unveils Effort to Fight ‘Horrendous' Gang Violence on Long Island

What to Know

  • Gov. Cuomo has unveiled an anti-gang initiative to crack down on MS-13 violence on Long Island
  • The initiative includes undercover investigations, increased patrols, expanded access to resources and more investigators and state troopers
  • MS-13 is believed to be behind killings of young people in Brentwood and Central Islip in recent months

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state will be providing expanded access to intelligence and law enforcement resources in an effort help federal and local authorities crack down on the recent spate of deadly gang violence on Long Island.

The governor on Wednesday said state police will also launch expanded patrols and undercover operations in the Brentwood and Central Islip areas of Suffolk County. 

Cuomo said the state will provide intelligence expertise, state of the art electronic surveillance equipment, vehicles, aviation equipment, and more to combat gang violence, focusing on the gang MS-13 on Long Island. 

"This concerted law enforcement effort now, combining federal, state, and local resources, we believe is going to make a marked difference and as I say, we will not rest until MS-13 is put out of business because we have zero tolerance in this state for the thuggery that MS-13 has made their calling card," Cuomo said.

In addition to the expanded patrols and undercover investigations, Cuomo said federal and local partners will be provided with expanded access to state intelligence and resources, new investigators will join the FBI-led Long Island Gang Task Force, and dozens more state troopers will help combat gang violence. The state's Gang Intelligence Unit will also add a Long Island-based investigator, Cuomo said. 

Local authorities suspect MS-13 members are behind the killings of four young people there earlier this month. They're among 11 killings that have rattled working-class immigrants since last year.

"MS-13 is an international crime organization," Cuomo said. "They are a network that has created horrendous crimes. Their currency is fear and intimidation, and they are getting more outrageous and more obnoxious in their activities." 

The street gang, also called Mara Salvatrucha, was founded in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s by immigrants fleeing El Salvador's civil war.

"MS-13 are thugs," Cuomo said. "They are thugs who prey on young people and recruit young people." 

"Our job is to say to MS-13: Enough is enough," he said. 

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to visit Central Islip on Friday. The Trump administration vowed earlier this month to crack down on MS-13. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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