They Moved Here to Escape the Gangs. The Gangs Followed

'NYT' documents MS-13 problem in some of Long Island's suburbs
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2017 7:32 PM CDT
They Moved Here to Escape the Gangs. The Gangs Followed
Long Island is struggling with how to deal with MS-13.   (Getty Images/CribbVisuals)

They were four young men, three living on Long Island and one visiting, and they all met tragic deaths at the hands of the MS-13 gang, the island's latest scourge over the past year and a half. In the New York Times, Liz Robbins and Nadia T. Rodriguez dive into the problem on the island, where the gang that got its start in LA in the '80s before moving on to Central America and other US cities has "surfaced with a vengeance" in recent months. The Suffolk County police commissioner, Timothy Sini, describes the issue that has infiltrated some of LI's suburbs as a particularly indiscriminate one, noting that if members feel disrespected, feel others aren't playing by the rules, or simply dislike someone, "they will use violence to address it." The Times also notes the challenges faced by immigrant kids—who often flee to the US to escape the violence in their home countries—in trying to stay away from MS-13 here.

Detailed in the read are stories of the four young Latino men involved in the latest spate of gang-related terror: Justin Llivicura, a 16-year-old whose family originally hailed from Ecuador; 18-year-old Jorge Tigre, who came from Ecuador when he was 10; Michael Lopez Banegas, 20, who had left his gang-infested home in Honduras to settle on Long Island; and Jefferson Villalobos, 18, Banegas' cousin who was visiting from Florida, though he'd originally moved there from Honduras. The story documents some of the pieces of what happened on the April night they were killed, as well as their parents' frustration at how the investigation is going. "Sometimes I think if it had been an American boy, that they would be moving heaven and earth," Justin's mother says, which Sini says isn't the case. "We will solve the crime," he vows. More here. (Inside the "brutal" world of MS-13.)

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