Suffolk DA: MS-13 on the run, will likely try to mount comeback
Suffolk District Attorney Tim Sini claims law enforcement has MS-13 on the run, although he says the street gang will likely try to mount a comeback in Suffolk.
"There is intelligence...that MS-13 in 2019 will try to make some effort to come back," Sini says. "And it's not going to happen on my watch, it's that simple."
Law enforcement has described the gang as being comprised of cold-blooded killers, and fear of the gang can be palpable in Huntington Station.
"They're more like a terrorist group, honestly," says 18-year-old Lyndon Alivio.
Sergio Argueta, a former gang member who's now an anti-gang advocate, says he's confused by Sini's statement that MS-13 will make a comeback. He says they have been suppressed, but he doesn't believe they've gone away.
"Clearly, they're on the ropes, they may be on the run," Argueta says. "They may be a little bit quiet, but to think that you can completely eradicate any gang is simply not true."
Argueta says the best thing parents can do is to keep young people active in their communities with activities like sports and clubs -- anything he says to keep kids off the streets and from becoming a target.
Shanda Rainford, mother of a 6- and 11-year-old, says she's concerned, but adds, "We're a tight-knit community and we'll fight, we'll fight back."
Sini made the comments just moments after three suspected MS-13 members were arraigned on assault charges stemming from a stabbing early this month. Prosecutors say Ramon Arevalo Lopez, 19, Oscar Canales Molina, 17, and Nobeli Montes Zuniga, 20, stabbed a fellow Huntington High School student in the back outside of a Huntington Station Burger King.
Family members of the defendants declined to speak with News 12, but defense attorneys claim that not only are their clients not gang members, but they may actually be the victims of gang violence. But Sini says all three suspects entered the U.S. illegally and were identified as gang members before their arrests.
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Prosecutors say Arevalo Lopez and Canales Molina were each detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2017, only to be later released by federal judges.
Each suspect was held on $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond. They are due back in court on Feb. 14.