18:35 GMT12 August 2020
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    Officials said that the massive arrest of members and associates of the criminal group came as a result of a two-year process of investigation by local, state and federal authorities, saying that it is the largest criminal take down, by numbers, in the history of New York.

    Law enforcement authorities in Suffolk County, Long Island, in the state of New York, announced on Friday the arrest of 96 members and associates of the violent MS-13 street gang, which has been blamed for many murders and crimes since 2016, the media reported.

    “MS-13 is a ruthless, savage gang which commits acts of violence to recruit, retain and control its members and exact revenge on its rivals, as well as to extort innocent members of our communities,” said Timothy Sini, Suffolk County District Attorney.

    Sini said that investigations found that the MS-13 gang planned for “establishing an East Coast foundation here in New York for the gang, that will never happen”. According to the indictment, the arrested members of the street criminal group have been charged with murder, conspiracy, drug trafficking, gang violence and the possession and sale of weapons.

    “This operation helped end the New York program, which was orchestrated by the leadership of MS 13 in El Salvador to develop a greater presence here on Long Island,” Sini said. “Additionally as a result of the reliable intelligence generated throughout this investigation, law enforcement prevented countless acts of violence over the past 23 months, including seven murder plots right here in Suffolk County.”

    Authorities reported that police confiscated over 10 kilograms of cocaine, 1,000 fentanyl pills, 9 handguns and two long guns, along with machetes, to be used as evidence.

    The MS-13 gang was originally founded in Los Angeles, California, by members from El Salvador. Known in Spanish as 'La Mara Salvatrucha', the gang drew attention in 2016, following the murders of 16-year-old Kayla Cuevas and 15-year-old Nisa Mickens.

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