BRENTWOOD, Suffolk County (WABC) -- Eyewitness News tagged along exclusively with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents as they arrested several alleged MS-13 gang members on Long Island Thursday.
It's part of Operation Matador, which is described as an intelligence-driven, unified effort to combat the proliferation of MS-13 and other transnational criminal gang networks on Long Island and throughout New York City and the Hudson Valley.
Operation Matador is HSI-led but combines the expertise of several government agencies including DEA, ICE, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Enforcement and Removal Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, National Guard and local police departments.
Special agents arrested more than 20 suspected MS-13 gang members Thursday throughout Long Island, Queens and the Hudson Valley.
The arrests on Long Island filmed by Eyewitness News were made in Brentwood, an area that gained national notoriety for its violent MS-13 gang activity. Agents arrested two brothers who are suspected of having ties to the gang. They were arrested at their home, where their aunt thanked officers because she said she knew her nephews had been hanging out with the wrong crowd.
"The community is very thankful for what we're doing out here," assistant Special Agent in Charge for HSI New York Jerry Handley told Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne.
Handley said HSI has received approximately 100 tips from the community since May reporting potential gang members.
In 2017, HSI made 4,818 criminal arrests -- 796 were MS-13 arrests.
The tip line for Homeland Security Investigations is 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. All calls remain anonymous.