Suspected gang members arrested, charged in murder of Brentwood teens

Law enforcement sources tells News 12 that at least four MS-13 gang members have been arrested and charged with seven murders, including the murder of two Brentwood teens.  Kayla Cuevas, 16, and Nisa Mickens, 15, were found beaten and slashed in September.

Law enforcement sources tells News 12 that at least four MS-13 gang members have been arrested and charged with seven murders, including the murder of two Brentwood teens. Kayla Cuevas, 16, and Nisa Mickens, 15, were found beaten and slashed in September. (3/3/17)

CENTRAL ISLIP - Law enforcement officials arrested 13 suspected MS-13 gang members Thursday and charged them with seven murders, including the killings of three Brentwood teens.

Prosecutors unsealed a 41-count indictment against the alleged gang members and connected them to the brutal murders of childhood friends Kayla Cuevas, 16, and Nisa Mickens. They also say the gang members are responsible for the murder of 18-year-old Jose Pena-Hernandez.

According to officials, Cuevas and Mickens were beaten with baseball bats and machetes.  Investigators say they were unrecognizable.

United States Attorney Robert Capers says Cuevas was "marked for death because she had feuded in school and over social media with various members of MS-13."

He says Mickens was "in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Prosecutors say Pena-Hernandez was lured to a wooded area at Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center in Brentwood by gang members he thought were his friends. Once there, he was stabbed and beaten to death. His body was found on Oct. 17.

Prosecutors say the gang members were also responsible for at least five other murders in the Brentwood area, in addition to several assaults and drug activities. Suffolk Police Commissioner Tim Sini says the arrests highlight a commitment he made to sweep gangs out of the community.

"We will continue to keep the pressure on this ruthless gang and anyone who associates with them and we will spare no resource to accomplish that objective," he says.

Of the 13 men indicted, prosecutors say 10 are in the country illegally, possibly from El Salvador. If convicted on the most serious charges of murder, those indicted could face life in jail or the death penalty.

The arrests were made in a series of raids Thursday morning executed by the FBI and Suffolk police.

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