AG Sessions: MS-13 could qualify as foreign terror group

United States Attorney General Jess Session will be in Central Islip this Friday, and he's expected to continue his recent tough talk against the MS-13 gang blamed for the recent deaths of four young men found in a Central Islip park. United States Attorney General Jess Session will be in Central Islip this Friday, and he's expected to continue his recent tough talk against the MS-13 gang blamed for the recent deaths of four young men found in a Central Islip park.
WOODBURY -

United States Attorney General Jess Session will be in Central Islip this Friday, and he's expected to continue his recent tough talk against the MS-13 gang blamed for the recent deaths of four young men found in a Central Islip park.

"Transnational criminal organizations like MS-13 represent one of the gravest threats to our American safety," Sessions said.

He added last week that he believes the Salvadorian gang "could" qualify as a "foreign terrorist organization" on a government list that includes groups like al-Qaida and Boko Haram. Labeling the gang as such would mean that cases would be tried in federal court, and it would be a felony to provide material support to the group, including giving it money.

Experts say MS-13 members work day jobs and pay monthly membership dues to the organization.

When asked if he thinks classifying MS-13 as a terror group would help law enforcement, U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said: "I think we have to find some classification, again, whether it's terror...to me, they are more than just a group of bad people. They are organized crime, maybe you can bring them under the organized crime act, under RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act)."

Robert De Sena, the founder of anti-gang group Council for Unity, says the terror classification would not matter. Instead, he says the answer is to address societal problems like poverty and the lack of family and opportunity.

One criminal defense attorney told News 12 that classifying gang members as terrorists raises civil liberties concerns. For instance, a judge's oversight would not be needed in order to issue search warrants or wire taps.

Suffolk Police Commissioner Tim Sini says he supports using the current RICO organized crime statute to prosecute MS-13 over classifying them as a "foreign terrorist group." Acting Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter says he'll address the issue after Sessions' Friday visit.

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