Victims murdered by MS-13 in Long Island park
The discovery of the mutilated bodies of four young men in a Central Islip park prompted Suffolk County's top cop Thursday to declare war on MS-13, a violent street gang believed to behind a spate of slayings in the Brentwood area.
The bodies of the victims were found on Wednesday night at the Recreation Village Park in Central Islip, reports the New York Daily News.
The victims "suffered from significant trauma throughout their body with a sharp or edged instrument", county Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said.
The motive for the murders is unknown at this time.
Last month, 13 MS-13 gang members from the Brentwood area were arrested and charged with seven murders, as well as an attempted murder and two assaults.
MS-13, also known as La Mara Salvatrucha, is one of the largest criminal organizations in the United States, with more than 6,000 members in at least 46 states and the District of Columbia, the US Attorney's Office said.
"The manner in which they were killed is consistent with the modus operandi of MS-13", Sini told reporters. 'This is a long-term war and make no mistake about it - it's a war.
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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said he was "outraged" to learn of the homicides. The victims were identified by family members as 16-year-old Justin Llivicura, cousins Michael Banegas and Jefferson Villalobos, both 18, and Jorge Tigre. "We're going to continue that war".
George's brother William Tigre, of Bellport, said he'd received a call shortly after the bodies were found from a friend who said he's seen his brother get murdered, he told ABC News.
The body of Oscar Acosta, 19, was also discovered that month, and the body of Miguel Garcia Morán, 15, not long after that, according to police. "No doubt, we've made tremendous progress", Sini said. She said a friend who escaped told them about the attackers.
Relatives of Jorge Tigre, 18, said police told them he is among the dead.
About a dozen distraught people, including family and friends of the teens, say they have not been heard from since. Refusal to "put in work", according to the sources, can result in the reluctant gang member being targeted for death for defying the gang code. Pena-Hernandez was reportedly murdered for violating the gang's protocol.
Sini said that the department is offering a $25,000 "fast cash" reward for information leading to the arrests of those responsible for the deaths.
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Apr 13 2017