Updated: Dec 6, 2019
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BEHIND BARS WITH MS-13
Sept, 2018. Nassau County Jail. Long Island NY
If you've ever been to long Island you've heard of a Latin gang called MS13. Once a week the local news would be inundated with reports of executions, bones found, missing young people. The gangs methods were quite brutal. Sure there were guns involved but a majority of their victims have been stabbed or beaten the death by blunt objects. Three high schoolers discovered bound and shot execution style. Apparently without any motive.
A teenage body unearthed in a shallow grave. Warring with rival gangs their own age. Finding multiple bodies (None being a former member of MS. only rival gangs). It was like these guys had two goals in life. To be members of MS-13, and to kill.
It's difficult to picture teenagers not only formulating a plan to kill. But also carrying out the plan, by luring their victims to a secluded place. Killing them, then burying them in shallow graves. My first question would be... who's giving those orders.
In the cell house. Guys would pause from their card games. Or stare at the television with their arms crossed whenever a news story would come on about them.
And with every capture, the DA. or some chief or some other 'big time' law enforcement official, stand behind a mountain of microphones flanked by other cops and snitches in plain clothes from the DAs department. Would appear in front of the cameras and share details about its investigation in catching these dangerous criminals. Then start giving thanks to all of the local and outside departments that had contributed their services.
Thanking individuals for their hard work and dedication. And reporting to the citizens of L.I. that another 'bad guy' has been taken off the streets. And vowed to the good citizens of L.I.' that law enforcement will never give up the fight against those who break the law. And this 'vicious street gang'.
After a few months of being bombarded with this type of news, I noticed that not only were all the victims young, but the perpetrators were as well. The shooters and the ones getting shot, are all around the same age. Most of whom (But not all) being illegals from mexico.
I noticed these MS guys never seemed to kill anyone older than teenagers. And that they also did not discriminate when it came to gender.
I live in the city. And within the 5 boroughs, we have our own gang problems. But these boys were different. Other than the fact that they are teens, they are basically non existent here with-in the five boroughs.
Why this particular gang decided to set up shop in Long Island? IDK. Whatever the reason, this location they have chosen is not doing well for them. Long Island holds one of the if not the wealthiest districts in the U.S.. Expensive neighborhoods like East Hampton. Expensive homes with wealthy occupants who's money, prestige as well as influents go back generations. And these occupants pay good money to keep themselves as well as their property safe. By maintaining an ample police presents and keeping the blacks and other minorities on specific parts of the island. Which is where all of these attacks and murders take place.
It could be that MS-13 had no idea that Long Island Is over 80% white. 90% percent conservative. And although wealthy, spends less on food and maintenance of its detention centers than any other district in the state. And is also the Headquarters of the Federal Courthouse. Along with a plethora of prestigious D.A. and prosecutor offices who have a long history of winning case after case against gang crimes whether drug or violents, sending the convicted ‘up north’ to prison, with more time than a bottomless hourglass.
Nevertheless. The gang has made this strong hold of American justice their base of operations.
Scaring old, rich white folks is never a good idea. Particularly in their own backyard. In-affect, the result was a full mobilization of law enforcement with an endless budge. Released upon this new threat and began locking up dozens of these gang members exponentially over the course of a year.
Myself. I had a money order that I had needed to cash. Since Far Rockaway did not have a Wells Fargo Bank. A quick glance on google maps shown me that there is one 2 miles away in Long Island. So, Me and a buddy of mine wave down a cab from Far Rock away Queens to my bank just inside Long Island. Long story short. After a scuffle at the bank. I am arrested and taken the Nassau County jail. Hit with three felonies, I knew id be laid up for a while.
The name and rep. of MS-13, not only rang bells out on the streets of L.I., but here behind these jail bars as well.
When you first go into any city or county jail, you are not immediately housed. We all must suffer through the tedious, exhausting, excruciating, in-take process. which consists of you and all the other inmates being moved from holding cell to holding cells and will spend several hours in each.
To get ask questions about you criminal history by the guards. The removal of any contraband from your person. Like belts or jewelry. And of course there is the full strip down, as well as the infamous ‘bend over and cough routine’.
Of course you are not alone. There are guys who get arrested the same day. Men who were already there, guys going or coming from court, or on the V.I.. Needless to say, it gets crowded in those holding cells. Will eventually get loud. Even violent. Depending on the topic being discussed.
Naturally to pass the time we talked. And one topic that came up was the massive presence of MS-13 with-in the jail.
The main chatter was about a housing unit called E2. The entire unit was said to be on lock down cause supposedly E2 was ground zero of a war taken place between MS and the bloods. I was not impressed. I had seen these wars before.
While going through the intake process, each inmate is anxious and a bit nervous about which housing unit they'll be sent to. Housing Units can be anywhere from a bunch of laid back old guys, to a savage jungle, full of young knuckleheads who will force one out of his character. Just to survive.
Once the C/Os opened the steal gate to hell. I was able to get a sense of the vibe of the housing unit. What inmates did to pass time. There were guys working out. Doing laundry out of buckets. Doing push ups, watching TV, talking on the jack. It was loud. With all eyez on me.
My unit, F4, was somewhere in between. Alot of youngins. And a few old men. I walked into my new home the same way I've walked into countless other jails. Standing tall, looking cats in the eye. Held my sheets, towel and blanket loosely to appear relaxed. No hesitation in my movements. Head high, like a veteran. I even stopped at the television. To catch the tail end of a news update about my guy Colin Kaepernick.
Nassau County jail has a two tier layout. 25 cells at the top and 25 cells at the bottom.
I was given cell 21. Bottom tier. The very last cell at the end of the dorm. After making my bunk and straightened up a few things. I stuck to the unwritten jailhouse rule of taking a shower the moment you come into a new dorm.
When I got out, I didn't think it smart to retreat to my cell. So I walked around the dorm a couple of times. Just To let everyone get a good look at me. Size me up. While I sized them up too.
I didn't know anyone. And didn't expect to. I had been to Long Island a couple of time. But never long enough to make any acquaintances. After my stroll around the unit, I sat down in front of the television with a few other guys until count time.