Arrested Locally as Part of Massive MS-13 Gang Crackdown

Ivan Schwartz
November 19, 2017

"We will not rest until every member, associate, and leader of MS-13 has been held accountable for their crimes, and those in this country illegally have been removed".

More than 250 suspected members of the unsafe worldwide MS-13 gang were arrested in a six-month crackdown by the US government. Five were legal immigrants.

The first phase of the operation involved risky members of the gang, and the initial arrests in El Salvador numbered 53, after a year and a half of investigation that concluded in September.

ICE conducted the gang arrests in a variety of localities, including sanctuary communities such as Baltimore, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Sixty-four of the 193 illegals - almost one in three - are would-be "dreamers" because they illegally crossed the border while claiming to be minors. MS-13 is the only street gang designated by the Treasury Department as a transnational criminal organization.

The second phase, running from October 8 to November 11, resulted in the latest arrests in the United States and El Salvador.

"These 267 arrests are the next step toward making this country safer by taking MS-13 off of our streets for good", Sessions said.

"The MS-13 gang is a unsafe menace to our children, families, and citizens of not just the United States, but internationally", Luck said. "The violence they perpetrate is shocking and shows no remorse or even a basic respect to human life", Homan said during a news conference in Washington, D.C. "Eliminating this threat is one of our highest priorities at ICE".

Operation Raging Bull – Nations of Origin chart – ICE
Operation Raging Bull – Nations of Origin chart – ICE

Attorney General Jeff Sessions traveled to El Salvador in July on a mission to work with that country's government against MS-13.

Homan said the gang traffics in drugs, extortion and violence.

The Justice Department said it has secured the convictions of 1,200 gang members and the arrests and indictments of about 4,000 MS-13 members in El Salvador so far this year.

But Molina's team was still able to make the arrest based on the suspect's immigration status - part of the unique mandate of the Homeland Security investigations unit of ICE.

The remaining 121 were arrested for violating US immigration laws, meaning they will likely be deported back to their native countries. However at least 12 of those arrested in Maryland were indicted on federal racketeering charges over the past month, officials said.

In one of the murders, Rybicki said, the defendants lured the victim, tried to shoot him, and then stabbed him to death.

While Operation Raging Bull is being heralded as a victory, there are still many unsafe MS-13 members that the government is still targeting.

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