Prosecutors indict 13 suspected gang members
Nassau authorities arrested 12 alleged members of a violent Hempstead street gang accused in a six-month string of crimes, including stabbings and shootings.
Although 13 suspected Salvadorians with Pride gang members were indicted, one has still not been arrested. Prosecutors say they believe he got tipped off to the other arrests and fled.
In a 49-count indictment, prosecutors allege SWP carried out a war against rival gangs such as MS-13 and Vatos Locos. Prosecutors say this string of crimes started in May, and included numerous assaults, a hammer attack, five shootings and a stabbing in which the victim was stabbed 25 times.
Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas is also charging the reputed gang members with conspiracy, which increases potential prison time if they are convicted.
Among those arrested are Wilmer "Scrappy" Sandoval, 23, and Jimmy Bonilla, 27, known as "Gem Star." Singas says both are top members of the gang.
"These [original gangsters] give orders and the more subordinate gang members are not allowed to disobey these orders," says Singas.
Sandoval's defense attorney Douglas Appel says his client was already facing other charges and said Sandoval was in jail at the time of some of the incidents.
In News 12 Long Island's "Gangs on Long Island" series, experts said that gang members routinely give orders to younger members from inside jail. It was not immediately clear if that was the case for Sandoval.
Sandoval was held without bail.