BRENTWOOD, Long Island (WABC) -- Five young adults reputedly linked to MS-13 -- three gang members and two associates -- planned to abduct a 16-year-old and kill him in Brentwood, in an attempt to elevate their standing in the street gang, Long Island officials said.
Their murderous plot was foiled by undercover Suffolk County Police detectives, who witnessed the attempt at First Street and Third Avenue in Brentwood Wednesday afternoon. They stopped the would-be abduction and held the suspects at gunpoint.
Four of the five are Brentwood High School students, investigators said. Two of the five are in the United States illegally.
"We had evidence that these five individuals were attempting, were intending to abduct that boy, and kill him," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini said.
- 18-year-old Jorge Bermudez Cedillos, an unaccompanied minor from El Salvador. He is a ninth grader.
- 17-year-old Lilliana Villanueva, an unaccompanied minor from El Salvador. She is a ninth grader.
- 18-year-old Oscar Fuentes, an unaccompanied minor from El Salvador. He is an 11th Grader.
- 18-year-old Vidal Contrera-Ortiz, in the country illegally and is originally from El Salvador. He is an 11th grader.
- 20-year-old Miguel Rivera, in the country illegally from El Salvador.
All are charged with second-degree conspiracy after the abduction attempt.
The undercover officers were on alert after receiving reports of Hispanic males in a van approaching and harassing Hispanic youth, with the possible intent to kidnap them.
Detectives believe murder plot would have served to elevate the suspects' status in MS-13.
The brutal gang MS-13 ravaged this community a year and a half ago. But this time, thanks to increased vigilance, plainclothes detectives made sure they were in the right place at the right time.
Suffolk County has fought long and hard to stop the gang, known for taking young lives with brutal beatings and machetes. There have been 18 killed in MS-13 related homicides in the past 18 months -- a problem that caught the attention of President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Suffolk County beefed up resources and is now using federal statutes for stiffer penalties.
To date, more than 100 MS-13 members here in Suffolk County have been detained for deportation in conjunction with Homeland Security.