5 years after Donald Trump vowed to finish the brutal reign of MS-13 on Lengthy Island, NY, Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. is doing simply that. Nevertheless it’s additionally, apparently, pushing one of many nation’s most violent gangs deeper right into a borough of New York Metropolis.
Toulon, the primary African American elected to the submit, is extensively credited with stalling the expansion of the gang, which for years had a stronghold within the area.
“Data sharing is what’s actually serving to us to drive down MS-13,” Toulon informed The Submit.
Exchanging knowledge on jailed gang members within the Yaphank and Riverhead correctional amenities with native police departments and prosecutors has led to the arrests of dozens of the machete-wielding thugs since he took workplace in 2018, Toulon stated.
And he’s continued to permit federal brokers of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to have places of work in county jails, a controversial follow arrange by his predecessor, Vincent DeMarco, in 2016.
Toulon, now in his second time period, was a Democratic candidate for sheriff in 2017 when Trump railed in opposition to the blood-thirsty gang in a speech at Suffolk Neighborhood Faculty in July 2017.
And Toulon took these phrases to coronary heart.
“We are going to discover you, we’ll arrest you, we’ll jail you and we’ll deport you,” the previous president stated, simply three months after MS-13 goons savagely massacred 4 high-school buddies in Central Islip.
The victims— Justin Llivicura, 16, Michael Lopez Banegas, 20, Jorge Tigre, 18, and Jefferson Villalobos, 18 — weren’t concerned with MS-13 however pretended to be, flashing the gang’s indicators in social media photographs to draw girls.
They have been allegedly lured to their deaths by Leniz Escober, a 17-year-old generally known as “Diablita” (the Little Satan) who sought to curry favor with the gang and had tipped them off to what the chums have been doing, prosecutors cost.
She’s now on trial for homicide.
“One of many methods this case was damaged was the monitoring of Escobar’s cellphone calls along with her boyfriend, who was on the within,” Toulon informed The Submit, noting that Escobar’s boyfriend was an MS-13 gang member in a Suffolk County jail.
“We’re continuously monitoring knowledge, interviewing inmates and sharing that knowledge with our regulation enforcement companions.”
He stated working with ICE and specializing in gathering intel has resulted in additional MS-13 inmates in Suffolk County jails.
“Once I began, MS-13 was the No. 4 main gang in our amenities,” he stated. “Now it’s No. 2,” with 23 members being held.
However Toulon’s determination to companion with ICE angered some Democrats and civil liberty advocates, who have been involved he would return to demanding that federal immigration brokers acquire warrants — a time-consuming job — in the event that they wished to detain an inmate set to be launched by the county.
“The idea was that Errol was going to finish the detainer requests, and require ICE to undergo the prolonged technique of getting a warrant,” stated Curtis Sliwa, a gang skilled and Republican who ran for New York Metropolis mayor final yr. “He stated, ‘ICE goes to be in my jails to allow them to take care of MS-13 immediately.’ That despatched shockwaves all through Lengthy Island.”
The result’s that many MS-13 members have moved out of Suffolk County and into Queens, Sliwa informed The Submit.
He stated that when the NYPD tried to undertake the identical measures and reached out to ICE in Queens, they have been “instantly chastised.” Mayor Adams has “ordered all of the native metropolis companies to haven’t any involvement with ICE in any respect, which is just too dangerous as a result of ICE has the sources to trace the gangs,” Sliwa stated.
Toulon stated he works carefully with Suffolk County’s Undersheriff Kevin Catalina, a former NYPD deputy chief and commanding officer of the division’s Intelligence Bureau who joined Toulon’s employees in August 2018.
“For a very long time in Suffolk County MS-13 operated with impunity,” Catalina, 54, informed The Submit. “After Trump and others put a highlight on the problem, regulation enforcement hasn’t let up.”
Shortly after taking up as sheriff, Toulon traveled to El Salvador to seek the advice of with regulation enforcement on the gang, which began in Los Angeles within the Seventies amongst Salvadoran migrants and now has cells all through the US. It was, he stated, an eye-opening journey.
“I actually acquired a greater understanding,” he defined.
Toulon was shocked to be taught that 78 Salvadoran cops had been killed within the first 4 months of 2018 by MS-13. He additionally realized that gang members follow torture with the intention to ship a message to their rivals to remain off their turf.
“What we have been in a position to do was set up a great relationship with them,” Toulon stated, “and seek advice from them about what we have been discovering in Suffolk County.”
He had plans to journey to different Central American nations to forge comparable alliances, however the COVID pandemic prevented him from leaving the nation. He’s now re-scheduling these journeys.
Toulon’s general objective is to construct a national community for sharing intelligence on jailed MS-13 members, which might enable him and Catalina to trace gang connections between Suffolk County, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.
For Toulon, it’s all a part of the promise he made to his constituents when he first ran for workplace in 2017: “We gained’t again down in the case of conserving this group secure.”