Brittany ComakFeb 7, 2018, 4:59 pmFeb 8, 2018, 1:06 pm

Suffolk DA unveils new police unit that will ‘eradicate violent street gangs’

Tim Sini says his department has already arrested 350 suspected MS-13 members since September 2016

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HAUPPAUGE — Flanked by members of every law enforcement agency in the county and state during a press conference Tuesday, Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini unveiled a new gang unit that will be "laser-focused" on prosecuting gang members. The unit will consist of a full-time supervisor, eight assistant district attorneys — one of which will speak Spanish — and six detective investigators. Sini says that even gang members arrested for crimes unrelated to gang activity will still be handled by the new gang unit.

"We're going to devote the necessary resources to eradicate violent street gangs from Suffolk County," Sini said.

The unit will meet with local and federal law enforcement agencies twice a week to coordinate strategies, an achievement for agencies that have had issues working cohesively in past administrations, according to Sini.

"For far too long, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office did not provide the leadership necessary to bring that fight to the next level. That ends today," he said.

Also in attendance at the press conference was Evelyn Rodriguez whose daughter, Kayla Cuevas, was murdered by MS-13 back in September of 2016. Sini says since then, Suffolk County police have arrested 350 people connected to the gang, and that this is the next step in ensuring the elimination of gang violence.

In addition, the district attorney announced that anyone who provides tips that lead to the arrests of gang members could be awarded as much as $5,000.

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