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MS-13 gang targeting rich US suburbia

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Long Island is home to some of the most expensive real estate in America. It is also a stronghold for one of the world's most dangerous gangs, reported Sky News (UK).

MS-13 has its origins in 1980s Los Angeles, but it spread across Central America when members were deported back to El Salvador.

Some people, especially children, have tried to escape the violence by moving to the US.
But the threat has followed them - it's estimated there are more than 8,000 suspected members across the country.

In the leafy suburban enclaves of Long Island, the gang has been connected to 20 murders in just over two years. Children have been among the victims.

The Trump administration has vowed to eradicate the group.

In a law and order speech in July, President Trump called MS-13 gang members "animals" and vowed to dismantle and deport.

"Together we're going to restore safety to our streets and peace to our communities and we're going to destroy the vile, criminal cartel MS-13 and many other gangs," Mr Trump said.

Deputy sheriff Jonathan Bing of Suffolk Police told me: "The mission statement of MS-13 would be murder, rape and control.

"You see that theme running through the gang from its origins all the way through to the counties in the United States.
"Its weapon of choice is the machete."

In September 2016, the murders of two teenage girls brought the horror of that violence to national attention.

Mara Salvatrucha and her best friend, Nisa Mickens, were killed as they walked home on a residential street.

Nisa's mother, Elizabeth Alvarado, described in brief but harrowing detail that her basketball-loving daughter was stabbed in the back with a machete.

Tears rolled down the face of Kayla's mother, Evelyn Rodriguez, as she recalled the events.
"It was just a crazy night that no parent should have to go through," she said. "When I was coming home from work, I saw the police tape."

She is eloquent and measured about the need for change, saying: "We need to come together to figure out a plan to make things better for the kids now."
She talks of the need for more guidance, support and hope for vulnerable children.

The Trump administration says the gang is targeting unaccompanied children admitted into the country from Central America.

Police say more than 4,600 unaccompanied Central American children have arrived in Suffolk County since 2014.

Young people, parents, police and prison officers all describe gang members trying to recruit in schools.

200 suspected members and associates were recently arrested. State troopers are now in schools and officers are closing in on undocumented immigrants.

But the secretive gang's recent notoriety has only driven them further from view.

Critics say the raids are being used to justify a broader crackdown on immigration. Many people we spoke to, though, welcomed the increased police prescience in their areas.

The gang however, still poses a grave threat.
In the few days we were filming in Long Island, another body was discovered.
Police later confirmed they had found the remains of 16-year-old Angel Soler.

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