Attorney General Jeff Sessions Vows to Eradicate MS-13 Gang in Long Island

Representative Peter T. King, left, Republican of New York, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the United States Courthouse in Central Islip on Friday. Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The attorney general of the United States, Jeff Sessions, came on Friday to this Long Island area besieged by the transnational gang known as MS-13, and in a 20-minute speech to local police commissioners and sheriffs vowed to eradicate the gang by cracking down on illegal immigration.

Mr. Sessions said the gang, which is linked to El Salvador, carries a threat similar to the Colombian cartels and the mafia. He said it smuggled gang members across the United States border and recruited young immigrants.

His message was familiar, and it bore the wishes of President Trump, who Mr. Sessions said was “particularly alert to” the violence affecting Suffolk County, where the bodies of four young men who had been brutally killed were found near a park on April 13.

The authorities contend the killings had the markings of MS-13, which would bring the gang’s body count to 15 in Suffolk County since the beginning of 2016, the most violent stretch since MS-13 took hold on Long Island in the late 1990s.

“The MS-13 motto is kill, rape and control,” Mr. Sessions said at the United States Courthouse here. “Our motto is justice for victims and consequences for criminals. That’s how simple it is. Prosecute them, and after they’ve been convicted, if they’re not here lawfully, they’re going to be deported.”

Mr. Sessions talked tough, declaring that “this is the Trump era,” when the federal government would back law enforcement. He said that he would add prosecutors to the Eastern District of New York. On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York had come to the area to announce that he would add 25 State Police officers to the gang-fighting efforts.

Mr. Sessions did not, however, offer assurances to the sizable immigrant community that its members could report crime to the police without worrying about their immigration status.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Liz Robbins