April 29 (UPI) -- U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed Friday to "devastate" the MS-13 street gang, which has been blamed for a string of homicides in New York.
Sessions, in a speech on Long Island with local police commissioners and sheriffs, said a crackdown on illegal immigration will help combat the gang, which has ties to El Salvador. He said the threat is similar to those by the Colombian cartels and the mafia. Long Island officials said the gang is responsible for 15 deaths in Suffolk County since early 2016, the most violent spat of killings linked on Long Island to MS-13 since the early 1990s.
"The Justice Department has zero tolerance for gang violence," Sessions said. "If you are a gang member, know this: We will find you. We will devastate your networks. We will starve your revenue sources, deplete your ranks and seize your profits. We will not concede a single block or street corner to your vicious tactics."
The gang formed in the 1980s in Los Angeles. In the past decade, some 7,000 members have been arrested. The Justice Department said there are more than 10,000 MS-13 members in at least 40 states.