The Eastern District of New York will receive two additional assistant U.S. attorneys tasked with prosecuting MS-13 and other gang crimes, as part of a new initiative against violent crime in the country, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday.
The additional federal prosecutors “will enhance the office’s ability to prosecute violent crimes committed by members and associates of” MS-13, as well as other street gangs in the district, such as the Crips, Bloods and Latin Kings, the department said in a statement.
The Eastern District includes Nassau and Suffolk Counties, as well as Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
Authorities have blamed the MS-13 gang for a spate of killings on Long Island in recent months.
Officials declined to say which geographic area the new prosecutors would be specifically focused, noting that both Long Island and the three New York City boroughs each have significant gang problems.
There are currently 109 Assistant United States Attorneys in the Eastern District prosecuting criminal activities, officials said
In a statement, Eastern District United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said: “Using every law enforcement resource available, this office and the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force will continue to work tirelessly to make our communities safer by bringing to justice those violent criminals who show no regard for human life.”
When Donoghue was named interim United States attorney for the district on Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions singled out Donoghue’s work prosecuting gangs as an Assistant United Attorney on Long Island, saying: “Every MS-13 member in Long Island should know, Richard Donoghue will use all the tools at his disposal to get criminals off the street.”
The new attorneys for the Eastern District are part of a group of 40 new federal prosecutors who will be added to 27 districts across the United States, according to the release.