MINEOLA, Nassau County (WABC) -- There has been a large-scale arrest involving alleged MS-13 gang members after the bodies of three murder victims were found on Long Island last October.
Authorities say the suspects include MS-13 leadership, with the regional leader among 17 now facing charges.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas says the seven-month investigation included police departments in New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Texas, where many of the arrests were made. It reportedly began as a narcotics trafficking investigation and went worldwide, and officials say gang members all over the world were taken down, including in places like Cuba, Korea, France and Egypt
"This massive multi-agency investigation laid bare the global size, complexity, and brutality of MS-13, and these indictments strike a heavy blow to the gang's operations on Long Island," Singas said. "These alleged gang members have terrorized vulnerable immigrant communities, trafficked deadly heroin into our neighborhoods, and this coalition of more than 22 agencies nationwide will continue to be unrelenting in our efforts to dismantle MS-13."
Officials say they also gave to El Salvador information that led to the arrest of a reputed MS-13 kingpin who is now being charged in 17 murders.
Some of the arrests are linked to the discoveries of three bodies over the course of just more than a week a few miles apart in Nassau County last fall.
The remains of 16-year-old Javier Castillo, of Central Islip, were found October 23 in Cow Meadow Park and Preserve in Freeport. Four days later, the body of 20-year-old Kerin Pineda, of Freeport, was found in the thick woods near the Freeport/Merrick Reservoir.
One arrest had been made in the death of 16-year-old Angel Soler, found in the woods on the Roosevelt/Baldwin border on October 19, but authorities stressed at the time that "a sensitive and ongoing investigation" was underway.
The indictment alleges that David Sosa Guevara (AKA "Risky") and Victor Lopez brutally murdered Soler on July 21, 2017, in Nassau County. Soler's body was mutilated, bearing injuries consistent with the use of a machete, and he suffered blunt force trauma to the head.
Authorities say the bust involved the prevention of at least three MS-13 gang killings, and that Nassau County alone has made 150 arrests in the past few months.
The charges include murder, conspiracy and drug trafficking, with each suspect facing 25 years to life in prison if convicted.