An indictment charging a group of individuals the United States Attorney’s office called “13 of the highest-ranking MS-13 leaders in the world,” was unsealed Thursday in federal court in Central Islip.

The four-count indictment charges the defendants, three of whom are already in U.S. custody, with racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to provide or conceal material support to terrorists and narco-terrorism conspiracy. Four defendants are additionally charged with alien smuggling.

 “Today’s action makes clear that there is no hiding place, anywhere in the world, for the leaders of violent gangs that terrorize American communities,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

Three of the defendants, Vladimir Antonio Arevalo-Chavez, Walter Yovani Hernandez-Rivera and Marlon Antonio Menjivar-Portillo made initial court appearances in the Southern District of Texas Thursday, one day after they were located by Mexican authorities and brought to the United States. They will soon be transported to the Eastern District of New York to face the charges in federal court in Central Islip, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Six more defendants are believed to be in custody in El Salvador and four others remain at large, prosecutors said.

Attorneys for those in custody could not be reached for comment.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, vowed to bring each of the co-conspirators to justice.

“Geographic borders will not shield violent actors from American justice,” Peace said in a statement.

Prosecutors said the defendants are part of the MS-13 “command and control structure,” consisting of Ranfla Nacional, Ranfla en Las Calles, and Ranfla en Los Penales, councils which have directed violence in the United States and El Salvador. The groups have also helped to expand the gang’s influence in Mexico, where they have forged alliances with cartels and engaged in narcotics trafficking, immigrant smuggling and extortion, kidnappings, and weapons trafficking, prosecutors said.

If convicted the 13 council members could be sentenced to life in prison, with the four accused of alien smuggling facing the death penalty since the acts involved death, prosecutors said.

On Long Island, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said MS-13 is responsible for more than 65 murders since 2009. Among the crimes prosecutors have said the gang is responsible for locally include the 2016 killings of two teenage girls who were students at Brentwood High School and the 2017 killings of four young men in a Central Islip park.

In a related case, 14 members of Ranfla Nacional were indicted in 2021 and they also await trial in Central Islip.

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