BRENTWOOD, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo, came out swinging on Wednesday saying "MS-13 are thugs. That is what they are they are thugs."
Tough talk directed straight at the vicious gang that law enforcement says is responsible for nearly 15 murders in Suffolk County dating back to last year.
Walter Barrientos understands the barbaric crimes. He's with the not-for-profit Make The Road New York in Brentwood.
The 16-year-old organization that specializes in assisting the Latino community, which also means coping with immigrants who are fearful of MS-13 in their backyard.
"We are seeing the level of violence that we left in many of our countries to come here," Barrientos said.
As a result of the recent violence and murders that has impacted this area of Suffolk County, Gov. Cuomo announced a new "High Intensity Gang Unit" within New York State Police. The unit will lend support through 25 officers and equipment in Brentwood and Central Islip as they combat MS-13.
However, there is another issue and this is one that has become much more heightened under the watch of new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions who will be in Central Islip on Friday. In fact this is a different kind of fear for the community, "When they go to law enforcement, they generally have a fear that they will understand them that they will not be treated well and that their complaints will not be taken seriously and the worst complaint of all is that they feel fearful that the police might cooperate with immigration and get them deported," said Barrientos who added, "That has been going on for years here."
PIX 11 News asked Cuomo what message he had to people in the communities of Brentwood and Central Islip who are undocumented and for years have had the concern about possible helping out law enforcement?
"That is a problem that we have all across the board. It's going gotten worst recently," said the Governor who went on to say, "We are trying to protect people, and we are trying to get the bad guys, and any information they have, any communication they have with the state police is in that vain."