Suffolk County, NY, (March 30, 2022)—One Long Island county is making real progress in the fight against MS-13. The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), an early adopter of LeoTech’s Verus,™ recently leveraged shared intelligence and technology to arrest suspect Leniz Escobar.
Escobar allegedly lured four teenagers to their death at the hands of MS-13 members. She is currently standing trial.
“We are constantly monitoring data, interviewing inmates, and sharing that data with our law enforcement partners,” Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. said in an interview with The New York Post. “Information sharing is what’s really helping us to drive down MS-13.”
Escobar’s boyfriend is an MS-13 gang member currently imprisoned in a Suffolk County jail. “One of the ways this case was broken was the monitoring of Escobar’s phone calls with her boyfriend, who was on the inside,” Sheriff Toulon said.
The SCSO uses Verus software to gather intelligence, monitor and transcribe authorized inmate communications. Verus’ Continuous Monitoring sets alerts for keywords and other data, while a search function enables investigators to search transcripts that are supported by Spanish-English translation.
“Our technology gives investigators intel that can be shared across jurisdictions with federal, state, and local partners and prosecutors,” stated Scott Kernan, LeoTech CEO. “We know gang confederates discuss, plan, and direct crimes from behind bars. The use of intelligence from inmate phones can be a uniquely effective tool for investigators.”
Crime rates in Suffolk County have decreased over the past ten years but being part of the New York metropolitan area puts the county at a higher risk of gang-related activity. Gang-related arrests rose from 856 in 2017 to more than 1,300 in 2020, per SCSO-provided data.
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