Crackdown on MS-13 gang nets more than 200 arrests

18 November, 2017, 02:26 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement is an agency within the Department of Homeland Security

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) officials announced the results of stepped up efforts by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Thursday, as part of the goal to target and dismantle the gang.

"Whether on the local, state or federal level, effective collaboration with other law enforcement partners is an essential part of the criminal investigations HSI conducts, such as the recently completed Operation Raging Bull".

The agency announced Thursday that 267 people were arrested in its "Operation Raging Bull", which targeted suspected members of the worldwide gang.

The second phase took place between October 8 and November 11, in the USA, during which an additional 214 suspected gang members were arrested, the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday.

Bourke did not have other details, including whether any of the people arrested had been in jail.

Sixteen of the US arrests were American citizens.

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Sixteen of the 214 arrested were USA citizens and 198 were foreign nationals, of which only five had legal status to be in the country.

MS-13's recruitment of illegal immigrants from Central America - particularly unaccompanied alien children (UAC) - has drawn the attention of Republican lawmakers, who say reforms to US asylum and refugee programs are needed to prevent the gang from replenishing its ranks.

The Trump administration has repeatedly highlighted MS-13 as it seeks to rally support for tougher immigration policies, as well as President Trump's campaign promise to build a wall on the southern border.

Five members of MS-13's Sailor's clique in Maryland who were arrested are alleged to have participated in three murders and had planned a fourth, between July 2016 and June 2017, said Rybicki.

In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said more than 1,200 gang members have been convicted so far this year, and about 4,000 have been arrested and charged.

"These 267 arrests are the next step toward making this country safer by taking MS-13 off of our streets for good", Sessions said. An estimated 10,000 members live in the United States, according to the Justice Department. The gang has a "large presence" in New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and a reach affecting 46 states. Known for its motto "kill, rape, control", Members are known for their violent, retributive murders, which have included beheadings and the stabbing death of a 15-year-old girl. Molina said he is an MS-13 associate.

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