NEW YORK - Operation Long Island Wave had a single goal: to take some of the worst violent offenders off the streets of Nassau and Suffolk County.
"We arrested 116 people and everybody is safe," said Commander Edward McMahon with the New York-New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force of the U.S. Marshals Service.
The two-week sweep marked the first of its kind on Long Island in well over a decade. The joint law enforcement initiative locked up 69 alleged gang members last month including defendants with open cases wanted for crimes including attempted murder, drug trafficking, and gun sales.
"Make no mistake this operation, the Long Island Wave has made our communities safer," said Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly.
It was strategically set up ahead of an expected uptick in gang activity, gang-related shootings, and what officials say is an anticipated surge in summer crime.
"That gang member who has an arrest warrant for grand larceny or criminal possession of a weapon has to be taken off the street because maybe the next week, he’s going to shoot up a rivals gang member’s family barbecue," McMahon said.
The raids only last a few weeks because officials say once word gets out, the people they’re looking for start to scramble.
"The Marshals Service took off violent actors, gang members, people who have been convicted and accused of violent crimes, it’s sorely needed," said Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney.
Among those arrested were members of the notorious Bloods, Crips, and MS-13 gangs.
"Doesn’t matter what gang you’re from," said Commissioner Patrick Ryder with the Nassau County Police Department. "I’m from this gang and this gang wins every time."