A Long Island town 45 miles east of Manhattan is grappling with a series of gang-related murders that has claimed the lives of at least five teenagers since mid-September. According to ABC, the body of Jose Pena-Hernandez, 18, was found Monday in a wooded area near Brentwood's Pilgrim Psychiatric Center. Hernandez was reportedly missing since June 13th, and had been a known member of the MS-13 gang, a violent cadre with roots in Los Angeles and El Salvador that has been wreaking havoc in Brentwood since the late 1990s via extortion, robbery, drug dealing, and murder.

Suffolk County Police intimated to Newsday they were led to Hernandez's body through intelligence supplied by one of the 31 suspected gang members arrested in a recent crackdown across Brentwood. "You don't just stumble on skeletal remains," Commissioner Timothy Sini told the paper.

The wave of arrests began after the brutalized bodies of 15-year-old Nisa Mickens and 16-year-old Kayla Cuevas were found near an elementary school on September 13th. A week later, the skeletal remains of 16-year-old Oscar Acosta and 15-year-old Miguel Garcia-Moran were found in a wooded area near a hospital. All four victims had attended the same high school, and police ruled each death a homicide. In the days and weeks following the discovery of their bodies, Brentwood residents held vigils for the young victims and called for redoubled crackdowns against MS-13.

ABC reports there have been no arrests made in connection with Hernandez's homicide.

“To me, it’s worse than it was before; it’s everywhere,” Kayla Cuevas's mother, Evelyn Rodriguez, told the Times earlier this month. “We need some type of assistance to help our police officers here and see if they can come together to figure out a plan to make things better for the kids now.”

News of the four killings put Brentwood in the national spotlight, with CNN, The Guardian, Washington Post, and Chicago Tribune all publishing stories that how the Long Island city of roughly 60,000 has come under siege. The Times reports that since 2009, members of MS-13 have been accused of 14 murders. That year, 15-year-old Christopher Hamilton was fatally shot in the head by MS-13 members during a house party

Immigrants fleeing civil war in El Salvador formed MS-13 in Los Angeles during the late 1980s. Today, the gang has a sizable influence in Salvadorian cities including San Miguel and San Salvador, the capital, with numerous members frequently criss-crossing the border to shuttle members and potential recruits under the radar of the ICE. Beyond the West Coast, MS-13 reportedly boasts as many as 5,000 gang members in the greater Washington area, with as many as 1,000 residing in Maryland's Prince George's County. The gang's letters stand for Mara Salvatrucha, which translates to "Salvadoran street posse." According to 2014 census figures, more than 17,000 of Brentwood's residents hail from El Salvador.

Authorities' efforts to the violence brought on by MS-13 has been undercut by a number of setbacks. In January, ex-Suffolk County Police chief James Burke pleaded guilty to civil rights violations and obstruction of justice. In its report on the Brentwood killings, the Times also noted the Suffolk County district attorney is currently under federal investigation, while the entire local police department was hit with charges in 2013 after institutional bias against Latino residents was uncovered.

Still, Commissioner Sini remained resolute. Speaking to Newsday, Sini said his department was on a mission to "decimate" MS-13 in and around Brentwood. Much of that mission hinges on intelligence gathered from those arrested in recent weeks.

"They have a choice to make," Sini told ABC. "They either are going to spend their adult lives in prison, perhaps their entire life in prison, or they're going to cooperate with law enforcement."