HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Authorities cracked down on gang activity on Long Island overnight just one day after President Donald Trump visited the area, promising tougher policing.
As CBS2’s Reena Roy reported, a night out on the town was cut short around 1:15 a.m. Saturday as Homeland Security agents and Suffolk County police searched patrons and employees at Santa Rosa Restaurant, El Triunfo Taverna, Safiro Bar and La Perfecta Bar and Restaurant.
Police said they targeted those establishments because of suspected MS-13 gang activity, as well as other illegal activities.
“This is very good. Criminals should be arrested, and violence should be stopped. So that’s a very positive step,” Huntington Station worker Rana Asad said.
Six men were arrested on a slew of charges, including criminal possession of a weapon, possession of a gambling device, criminal nuisance and impersonation. A 31-year-old man was also taken into custody when Homeland Security investigation special agents discovered he had been deported twice in past.
Authorities said two bar owners and one bar manager were also ticketed for violations.
The raids came just hours after the president visited Long Island to address the MS-13 gang violence.
“Since January ’16 — think of this — MS-13 gang members have brutally murdered 17 beautiful young lives in this area on Long Island alone,” Trump said Friday.
The president was referring to the brutal beatings and machete attacks of Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens last September.
Resident Kerry Kennedy said she’s not a Trump supporter, but agrees with the raids if they mean stopping that kind of violence.
“The two girls that had gotten killed that were on the news – one of them was my cousin’s best friend’s daughter. So that really hit home,” she said.
Trump praised law enforcement for its focus on the gang violence and encouraged them to keep it up.
“Together we are going to restore safety to our streets and peace to our communities, and we are going to destroy the vile criminal cartel MS-13 and many other gangs,” he said.
“We have been aggressive in targeting MS-13 gang members and we have been criticized for cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini said. “I’m not making any apologies.”
The president also promised to stop the flow of unaccompanied minors entering the United States illegal, saying they are targets for MS-13 recruiters.