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Authorities: Border surge helping MS-13 recruit unaccompanied migrant kids, helping fuel violence in D.C metropolitan area.

March 27, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Authorities: Border surge helping MS-13 recruit unaccompanied migrant kids, helping fuel violence in D.C metropolitan area. AFP PHOTO JOHAN ORDONEZ (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

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Authorities in the D.C. metropolitan area are voicing concerns that the dangerous street gang known as MS-13 is benefiting from the surge of unaccompanied migrants coming across the United States’ southern border.

Officials say the surge is helping recruit new members in to its ranks and fueling further gang-related violence around the nation’s capital.

Although law enforcement agencies cannot provide statistics as to how many unaccompanied minors have joined up MS-13. Authorities point to three alleged gang members who stand accused of murdering a 17-year-old teen in Sept. 2015 as a possible example.

The three gangbangers who had entered the U.S. illegally in 2013, at the peak of the border surge never appeared for their scheduled immigration hearings

“History dictates the way gangs recruit, they always prey on kids who are new to an area or are looking for someone who they can relate to,” says Ed Ryan, a gang prevention coordinator with Virginia’s Fairfax County.

Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 for short was first founded by immigrants fleeing civil war in their native El Salvador and had migrated to Southern California.

The gang had quickly spread throughout their Central American homeland helping transform El Salvador to one of the deadliest places on earth, with a murder per capita rate that ranks 4th in the world, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The massive influx of Salvadorans entering the U.S. has also helped the MS-13 expand from their strongholds in Los Angeles and El Salvador to numerous cities across the U.S.

The Salvadorian population in the D.C. area ranks the second highest in the U.S. behind L.A. with a population of 228,000.

“Like all immigrant, organized crime groups, MS-13 began by first targeting their own community,” Lou Gentile, a former officer in the Organized Crime Unit of the Pennsylvania State Police and founder of the investigative firm CSI, told Fox News Latino.

The gang has since swelled its ranks to over 10,000 members across 46 states. MS-13 has also expanded its criminal operations to include drug and human trafficking along with kidnapping.

MS-13 gang members will appear in Washington D.C. federal court this week for allegedly committing a string of systematic murders in 2013 and 2014, aimed at increasing the gang’s power in the D.C. metro area.

“We are beginning to see an attempt to re-establish themselves as the dominant gang in the Maryland area.” John McCarthy, the state attorney for Maryland’s Montgomery County.

He added, “MS-13 are actively attempting to build their numbers again based on direct orders they are receiving from leadership outside the U.S.”

One of the group’s biggest rackets involves the human trafficking of underage age girls to work in brothels.

Younger girls are preyed upon by gang members in the same way they do when recruiting new members. The group offers them money and material goods to become involved in the illicit trade.

Although MS-13’s involvement in the sex trade has kept violence down to an extent over the last few years, officials in the Washington D.C.-area say there are disturbing indications that gang violence tied to the organization could be again on the rise.

“This year, there has indeed been more violence.,” Ryan said.

Ryan, who works mainly with juvenile offenders and other at-risk youth, said one of the most difficult parts of his job is identifying which of the youth he sees are actually involved with the gang.

“They’re getting smart now. They don’t use tattoos or other ways to identify someone as a gang member that much anymore,” he said. “I can count on one hand the number of kids who have told me they are full-fledged members of a gang.”

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