Members of the violent MS-13 gang have been linked to the recent deaths of at least 11 young people on Long Island, New York, according to reports from the Associated Press.
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While MS-13’s presence in some of Long Island's suburban communities is nothing new, some recent killings that are believed to be gang-affiliated have drawn nationwide attention, including from President Trump who said the murders are linked to relaxed immigration policies of the past.
“We are putting MS-13 in jail and getting them the hell out of our country,” he told AP this week. “They are a bad group, and somebody said they are as bad as al-Qaida, which is a hell of a reference. ... We are out in Long Island cleaning out the MS-13 scum.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions echoed the president's remarks in a speech he gave on gang violence near a Long Island park where the bodies of four young men were found earlier this month.
“I have a message for gang members who target young people,” Sessions said, according to ABC-owned station WABC. “We are targeting you. We are going after you.”
Many killings attributed to MS-13 have been in two Long Island communities -- Brentwood and Central Islip. A map below shows just how close the locations are of where the bodies were found.
Here are 11 killings that took place from mid-2016 to now.
June 3, 2016: Jose Pena, 18, was a student at Brentwood High School in Suffolk County, Long Island. According to reports from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York, he was killed on June 3, 2016, but the remains of his body were not recovered until Oct. 17, 2016. The U.S. Attorney's Office reports that murder charges have been brought against suspects in Pena's death.Sept. 13, 2016: Brentwood High School students Nisa Mickens, 15, and Kayla Cuevas, 16, were both killed on Sept. 13, 2016. According to the AP, the two friends were walking together on a street near their homes when men with baseball bats and a machete jumped out and attacked them. Prosecutors also told the AP that one of the victims, Cuevas, as in the months before her death involved in a series of disputes with members and associates of MS-13. Reports from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York show that murder charges have been brought against the suspects linked to Mickens and Cuevas death. Sept. 16, 2016: Oscar Acosta’s body was found in an industrial area on Emjay Boulevard in Long Island on Sept. 16, 2016 according to WABC. The 19-year-old had been reported missing since May 2016. Sept. 21, 2016: Miguel Garcia Moran, 15, who had been missing since February 2016, was found dead on Sept. 21, 2016 in a wooded area in Brentwood, according to WABC. Oct. 13, 2016: Dewann A.S. Stacks, 34, was found suffering mortal injuried on American Boulevard in Long Island on Oct. 13, 2016 according to reports from WABC. When officers arrived on the scene, Stacks was still alive with injuries to his head and face, but was pronounced dead later at the scene when rescue efforts were unsuccessful. Jan. 30, 2017: Esteban Alvarado-Bonilla, 29, was gunned down inside a local deli on Jan. 30, 2017 according to AP. April 12, 2017: Long Island’s most recent case of alleged gang killings occurred about two weeks ago, when the bodies of Justin Livicura, 16, Michael Banegas, 18, Jefferson Villalobos, 18, and Jorge Tigre, 18 were found. According to WABC, relatives say the victims were going to the park to meet with friends when they were attacked by a group carrying machetes.