Thirty-nine members of MS-13, a brutal gang with roots in Central America, were arrested by the immigration authorities in New York in the past month, officials said on Wednesday. Many of those arrested were on Long Island in Suffolk County, where the authorities have attributed 17 murders to MS-13 since Jan. 1, 2016. In the most recent, four young men were found dead in Central Islip in April.
The arrests came as part of an effort to eradicate gangs that operate across international borders. Called Operation Matador, it includes agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and affiliated Homeland Security investigators, as well as local law enforcement.
In addition to the 39 members of MS-13, six members of other violent gangs, such as the Latin Kings and the Sureños, were arrested, officials said. According to the immigration agency, people are considered confirmed gang members if they admit membership or have tattoos of gang symbols, among other factors.