NEW YORK - A joint anti-gang initiative recently launched in New York has led to the arrests of 39 alleged MS-13 members in the past 30 days, authorities announced Wednesday.
Operation Matador -- a collaboration involving U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations New York, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the NYPD, Suffolk County police and Nassau County police -- represents a unified effort dedicated to combat the proliferation of MS-13 and other transnational criminal gang activity in the New York City metropolitan area, including Long Island.
"Transnational gangs like MS-13 bring nothing but violence and conflict to our communities and their presence will not be tolerated," Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge Angel Melendez said. "Their vicious criminal activities present an ongoing challenge for law enforcement everywhere."
A total of 45 individuals were arrested during this ongoing enforcement effort, all of which were confirmed as gang members and affiliates -- including 39 affiliated with MS-13.
Authorities said 20 had additional criminal histories, including prior convictions for assault and weapons charges, and that one has a pending felony grand larceny charges and a final order of removal. Others taken into custody during the operation included:
--An El Salvadoran national arrested in Suffolk County with a criminal history of felony assault
--A Honduran national arrested in Suffolk County with a criminal history of menacing with a weapon and disorderly conduct, fighting and violent behavior
--A Mexican national arrested in Suffolk County with a felony possession of a weapon: carrying a loaded weapon and misdemeanor menacing with a weapon
--A Honduran national arrested in Nassau county with a prior conviction of criminal possession of weapon
--An El Salvadoran national arrested in Nassau County with a criminal history of felony attempted assault, disorderly conduct and misdemeanor harassment
--An El Salvadoran national arrested in Suffolk County with a prior felony conviction of criminal possession of a loaded firearm.
The suspects, all male, included nationals from El Salvador (27), Honduras (11), Mexico (5) and Guatemala (2).
Suffolk County accounted for 33 arrests, the largest number during the operation to date. Eight arrests were in Nassau County, while three were in Queens and one in Brooklyn.