Issues in Suffolk County

Combating Street Gangs – MS-13, Bloods, Crips

Gang violence is causing Suffolk’s homicide rate to skyrocket, which is up by over 25% in the past year. Meanwhile, the number of verified shootings is up 65% so far this year.  In July, three people were killed in Farmingville.  In August, one person in Central Islip and another in Huntington Station were shot and killed.  All three incidents were apparently gang-related.

The street gangs responsible for much of the recent violence have been allowed to thrive since Tim Sini took office because his approach to gang prosecutions is fatally flawed.  Ray Tierney will fundamentally change the way gang cases are both investigated and prosecuted in Suffolk County. As District Attorney, Ray will hold gang members responsible for their most violent crimes and ensure they receive substantial jail sentences for all acts of violence committed in our communities.  He will take an aggressive approach to combating the gangs by re-establishing the District Attorney’s Gang Unit, by using the latest surveillance technology and by leveraging his 26 years of experience as a prosecutor to pursue violent crimes, no matter where they occur.

Re-Establish the District Attorney’s Gang Unit

As Suffolk County District Attorney, Ray will establish a specific gang unit to prosecute violent street gangs, with individual ADAs being assigned to specific street gangs.  Currently, cases involving gang violence can be scattered among no less than four separate bureaus.  This leads to, among other things, uneven prosecutions, duplication of efforts and making it impossible to develop a comprehensive gang conspiracy case that matches gang members with all their illegal acts in one comprehensive indictment.  Ray will end this practice immediately.

Mr. Sini boasts how he uses massively time-consuming and prohibitively expensive wiretap cases to prosecute gangs.  This is wasteful and unproductive for a number of reasons.   Even the most moderately successful gang members have become technologically savvy enough to be aware of the possibility that law enforcement is monitoring their phones. Instead, they now use readily available Internet-based encrypted messaging services and private messaging on social media apps to coordinate their next attack. Thus, their most violent activities will not be detected through any phone eavesdropping techniques currently utilized by the District Attorney’s office, which is borne out by the fact that, like his MS-13 indictment, most of Mr. Sini’s gang indictments fail to contain any murders or other acts of violence.  While the office was spending two years monitoring 215 phones that resulted in zero charges for murder or even assault with a handgun, countless other acts of violence were being committed across Suffolk County.  This cannot happen in a properly run District Attorney’s office.

Use Technology to Pursue Violent Crimes, No Matter Where They Occur

As a prosecutor in Brooklyn, Ray utilized cutting-edge technology and crime statistics to map out hot spots of gang activity.  Once the violence and responsible gangs were identified, specific prosecutors were assigned to work with dedicated teams of detectives to prosecute the individual gangs responsible.   Large conspiracy gang cases were built from the ground up that married conspiracy charges with specific acts of violence occurring in the community, such as murders, assaults, reckless endangerment shootings and unlawful possession of unlicensed handguns.

In Suffolk County, Mr. Sini’s office has a scattershot approach to gang prosecutions.  First off, in order to pretend that our streets are not as violent as they really are, the District Attorney’s office does not investigate, or even bother to quantify, reckless endangerment shootings in underserved communities, where no one is shot and no complaint is made, which oftentimes happens in neighborhoods where a terrified populace does not dare to call the police on known gang members.  These types of incidents almost always are precursors to further violence; they must be aggressively pursued, and evidence must be collected for use in eventual gang conspiracy cases.  Mr. Sini hides these cases from public view to make himself look good.  This practice helps only the politicians and criminals and endangers us all.

Experience Matters

For the past 26 years, Ray has personally tried some of Long Island’s biggest cases, including those involving massive Colombian drug cartels and MS-13 murderers, and prosecuted thousands of our most dangerous criminals. For instance, Ray prosecuted and successfully convicted two MS-13 gang members — including a gang leader — for the brutal killings of five people in seven weeks in 2010.

By contrast, the current district attorney is an inexperienced political appointee, who has never even tried one single case and his MS-13 gang prosecutions have more often than not resulted in lenient plea deals.  For example, Mr. Sini’s signature MS-13 gang case resulted in the arrest of 46 members of MS-13, who the DA’s office alleged were responsible for at least 92 murders.  The investigation lasted over two years, the office eavesdropped on over 200 phones and, yet, the indictment failed to charge these defendants with even one murder or even a count involving the use of a gun.  He took no steps to solve the 92 murders and promptly cooperated with one MS-13 murderer, who testified against another MS-13 murderer, allowing them all to be released on greatly reduced charges with lenient prison sentences.  While this approach may be good for Mr. Sini’s press portfolio, it is unethical, immoral and does not make us more safe.

Fight Back Against Disastrous Bail and Criminal Justice Reform Laws

Bail reform eliminates cash bail and allows those who have been charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies to go back on the street. However, most of those who were released went on to commit horrible acts of murder, rape and violent assault.

Nationwide, homicides are up 30% in 2020, compared to the previous year. Aggravated assaults were up 6% and assaults with a firearm increased 8%. Motor vehicle thefts also jumped 13%. In Suffolk, murders were up 25% last year from the previous year, and motor vehicle thefts increased 50%. In addition, the number of property crimes committed was up from 14,910 in 2019 to 14,981 in 2020. Residential and commercial burglaries also increased from 900 in 2019 to 973 last year. Tim Sini’s silence on the issue shows that his allegiance is with the liberal Democrats in New York State rather than ensuring the safety of Suffolk residents. As DA, Ray will fight to repeal bail reform and keep the most dangerous criminals off the streets and behind bars, where they belong.

Repeal/Oppose Parole Reform

The liberal Democrats in the New York State Legislature passed The Less Is More Act, which eliminated the return of parolees to prison if they failed a drug test or missed an appointment with their parole officer. This means parolees can continue to use drugs and alcohol while out on the streets and commit a crime while on parole.

They tried to pass the Clean Slate Act, which would permanently erase the criminal records of offenders — including felonies — once they have completed their sentences. This bill would have hamstrung employers who use criminal background checks to keep their employees safe. Another bill they attempted to pass was the Elder Parole Act, which would grant parole to those who are 55 years or older and have served at least 15 years of their sentence. This is nothing more than a get-out-of-jail-free card to allow our most recidivist criminals to return to a life of crime.

Tim Sini has been silent on parole reform. As DA, Ray will fight to repeal Less Is More and oppose the Clean Slate and Elder Parole Acts when liberal Democrats try to pass them again.

Drug Trafficking & Overdoses

Drugs have taken many lives in Suffolk County and torn many families and communities apart. In fact, the rate of opioid-related deaths in Suffolk (23.2 per 100,00) exceeds that of New York State’s (17.2 per 100,000).

But most drug peddlers aren’t on street corners. Some physicians knowingly prescribe these addictive painkillers to their patients, who become hooked on these drugs. This often results in an overdose and death.

Ray’s experience in taking down drug dealers includes the prosecution of cases involving the Norte del Valle cartel from Colombia, which was responsible for importing more than 50 tons of cocaine into the U.S. As DA, Ray will not only go after the street-level dealers, but their suppliers and the unethical doctors and drug manufacturers who place profits before patients.

Identity Theft and Cyber Crimes

Reported identity theft cases are up 85% statewide last year. Even during the pandemic shutdown, criminals used the Internet to file false claims for government aid and unemployment benefits. Ray prosecuted an international white-collar case involving a call center in India, which was used to swindle millions of dollars from U.S. citizens in so-called “IRS Payment” scams. As District Attorney, Ray will establish an Identity Theft and Cyber Crime Unit to protect Suffolk residents from being robbed and having their privacy violated. He will go after those who sought to cheat the unemployment and other pandemic-related relief programs, regardless of where they reside, just like he did in the India call center case.

Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks can interrupt product supply chains and force companies to pay millions of dollars, as we saw with Colonial Pipeline and JBS. As a result, companies are paying 40% more to insure themselves against these acts of online extortion. As District Attorney, Ray will establish a Ransomware Unit to look out for possible, unannounced attacks on utilities, government entities, schools, universities and businesses. He will also create an extortion hotline so that individuals and businesses under attack can obtain immediate help from law enforcement.

Bring Integrity to the DA’s Office

Look at the Gilgo Beach murder case. This is what happens when you hand key positions in county government to a political operative like Tim Sini. Suffolk’s police chief at the time, James Burke, was able to flourish due to the culture of corruption that exists in Suffolk County government. When Mr. Sini was Deputy County Executive in charge of Public Safety, he refused to act for 16 months, allowing Mr. Burke, former District Attorney Spota and former Assistant District Attorney Christopher McPartland to operate with impunity. His reward for such negligent inaction was an appointment as Suffolk County’s police commissioner, a job for which he was grossly unqualified. It is clear there is very little confidence in the county executive, the police department’s leadership and the District Attorney’s office when it comes to apprehending and prosecuting the perpetrator of these heinous crimes.

As a prosecutor, I put away corrupt elected officials who abused their power. We need a DA who has the experience we can trust.  When it comes to enforcing the law, there is no room for politics or the influence of self-serving special interests. The residents of Suffolk County demand no less from this most sacred elected office.