MS-13 takedown sheds light on gang’s operations

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A massive takedown of 17 alleged high-ranking MS-13 members and associates is giving law enforcement officials new insight into the street gang and how sophisticated its operation is on Long Island.

Authorities say yesterday's indictment of 17 alleged MS-13 members and associates was a "big get" - a takedown seven months in the making.

“It's a devastating blow to MS-13 operations here in Nassau County," says Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas.

News 12 Long Island sat down with Singas to get more insight into the gang and the arrests.

“This was a very broad and overreaching investigation, and the results of which were really shocking to a lot of us, because we never realized how massive an organization this is,” Singas said.

MS-13 is an international gang that includes two national leaders in El Salvador, 13 principals, followed by program directors and then here in the United States there are regional directors and then clique leaders. Included in this takedown was the arrest of a still-unnamed man who prosecutors say is the regional director for the entire eastern United States. 

“So this was the person that was dictating operations for MS-13 for New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia," says Singas.

Singas says not only was the regional director arrested, but so were the Long Island leaders of what's known as "cliques."

“We took out their leadership, and it takes time to build that kind of leadership,” says Singas.

Singas says the investigation also showed law enforcement that MS-13 has members in countries not previously known, including Australia, Egypt, and France. She says what was also eye-opening was just how structured and organized MS-13 is.

“We actually have information about them moving people from places like Charlottesville, up to Nassau, from New Jersey to New York,” says Singas.

During the seven months of investigation, Singas says authorities stopped four killings, including one plotted in Freeport, and helped solve three murders, including last year's killing of 15-year old Angel Soler. His body was found buried in a wooded area in Roosevelt.

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