Long Island police official: MS-13 is on the run

Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick with Nassau County's Homicide Squad weighed in on the status of MS-13 on Long Island.

"I think we're on the offensive and they're on the run. I think we're taking a big impact on them," he said. "Have we seen less activity from them? My personal opinion, yes."

Fitzpatrick spoke after an alleged member of the vicious gang was led out of police headquarters in handcuffs Thursday morning. He had pleaded not guilty to murder.

Jose Quintanilla Cruz, 23, is the second suspect arrested in connection with the suspected MS-13 murder of a 21-year-old last month whose remains were found in a wooded area not far from a private school in East Meadow, investigators said.

Officials said Quintanilla Cruz is in the United States illegally and was in the custody of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Last month, police arrested a man whom they said is also responsible for the murder. Detectives strongly believe others were involved.

"They don't do this alone," Fitzpatrick said. "They don't do this with one other person. It's like a pack of piranhas—they attack."

Since last year, authorities have arrested more than a dozen alleged members of MS-13 on Long Island. Several murders caught the attention of President Trump, who made it a mission to hold the gang accountable.

Law enforcement officials credit a multi-agency approach to keeping the streets safer.

Noel Vega of Brentwood said he sees a difference.

"There's always work to be done. Our federal, state and local law enforcement are doing a great job," Vega said. " I think there should be more aggressive tactics, proactive policing in the neighborhoods and so you know."

Quintanilla Cruz is being held without bail. He is due back in court next month.