The embattled MS-13 gang is now said to be holding their membership meetings inside abandoned buildings and vacant, foreclosed homes on New York’s Long Island in a bid to escape the ever-tightening grasp of law enforcement.
The organization known for its ruthless and violent killings has decided to move indoors after being forced out of the wooded areas where they sometimes would gather to plot attacks and bury the bodies of their victims, Nassau police Det. Sgt. Michael Marino – who heads his department’s Gang Investigations Squad – told Newsday this week.
Marino says police recently worked with officials “to remove and prevent MS-13 from occupying a vacant home” in the town of New Cassel. Gang graffiti had been discovered on the property and several arrests were made following a surveillance operation, he added.
Police also reportedly are working with local governments to get foreclosed homes boarded up so they don’t become the next MS-13 meeting locations. One of the nature preserves gang members used to frequent is now filled with surveillance cameras, Marino told Newsday.
The crackdown comes as the gang’s influence appears to be diminishing in Long Island – a region considered to be one of their U.S. strongholds.
The gang is believed to have killed as many as 28 there between 2016 and 2017, but only one murder was attributed to them in that area last year, according to Newsday.
Marino says MS-13 has 284 active members in Nassau County – down from around 1,000 five years ago.