MS-13: A predator in our midst that we are unaware of

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The cops put it down to a gang and drug-related incident, NHI — no humans involved, and said publically that an out-of-town gang was involved. Several days later, gang markings traditional to MS-13 were found on the street in a residential section of Rockaway Park. The police said that the marking were a warning to local drug dealers to get out of town.

On the evening of March 17, 2010, I was listening to the scanner late in the evening and heard that cops on routine patrol had stopped three men on the boardwalk at Beach 9 Street, nearby the Atlantic Beach Bridge. The men were acting suspiciously and had no identification, except for the gang tats on their necks, arms and chests. The cops decided to call for backup and a patrol supervisor. Police checked the dark beachfront and found a man hacked to death by a machete. By the time they found the body, I was on my way to the 101 Precinct house in Far Rockaway, hoping to get some information and a photo of the three men. A detective whom I knew well came out of the house and told me that the three were members of MS-13 and that they had killed the other man because he was a gang member who refused to kill members of other gangs and was therefore considered a coward who deserved to die

. That was my introduction to MS-13. Since then, they have been involved in several high-profile federal cases as law enforcement attempts to deal with their menace. The feds call MS-13 the most vicious gang in the world and that title is well earned. Members recently killed a woman and her child because the woman, the girlfriend of an MS13 member, has spoken with a member of another gang in a Hempstead bar. They killed her 2-year-old son because there was an off chance that “he would grow up and seek revenge.”

In 2009, they put out a contract to kill the federal agent who was running the task force that had arrested many local MS-13 leaders and worked to get them jailed and deported.

The great majority of gang members are Hispanic, mostly from Central and South America.

And, they are all around us as we go along doing what we do each day.

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