41 alleged MS-13 gang members indicted in Nassau

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Officials say 41 alleged members of MS-13 have been indicted in Nassau County after a "four-year spree of violence."

They say about 20 of the alleged gang members were already in custody on other charges. The rest were taken into custody late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. 

The 41 accused MS-13 members were indicted on conspiracy charges, alleging they committed crimes in furtherance of the gang. That charge could lead to a life sentence, if convicted.

One by one, the alleged gang members were brought into court in Mineola – many of them denying the charges against them.

One defendant, Luis Mancia, yelled out several times during his arraignment, saying, "Your honor please, I beg you to hear me…that is not true. I'm not an MS-13." 

Several suspects had family members in court to support them. An attorney for suspect Christian Chavez said he believes there's no evidence of conspiracy – suggesting that the defendants are being unfairly indicted. 

"If you're going to round up 40 Hispanic males and say they're part of a gang, you better prove it," he says. 

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas says the indictment reaches back to cases from 2013.

“We are sending a very strong message that we're not going to tolerate it, include every resource we have,” she says.

Singas says there is plenty of proof that those indicted are in MS-13 – citing gang tattoos, gang colors and information from informants. 

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