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MS-13 in U.S. Not Violent Enough, Say gang leadership in El Salvador

January 25, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
MS-13 in U.S. Not Violent Enough, Say gang leadership in El Salvador

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Congressional employees indicated that the leaders of the infamous MS-13 gang are angry that their U.S.-based members are not violent enough. The remarks occurred after a visit to El Salvador by the House Homeland Security Committee’s Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee.

Rep. Peter King is the chairman of the subcommittee on counterterrorism. He revealed that Salvadoran law enforcement members told his team that leaders of the criminal organization known as MS-13 are “frustrated that MS-13 members are not violent enough,” according to VOA News.

He added that the gang leaders in El Salvador are looking to dispatch “more violent members” to the United States.

“It’s a horrifying thought,” King stated.

His comments came during a committee hearing where Steven Richardson, the Assistant Director for the Criminal Investigations Division of the FBI, testified about the number of arrests of MS-13 members and mid-level leaders over the past year.

Immigration officials indicated that they arrested close to 5,000 members during the Fiscal Year 2017 which concluded on September 30th. Nearly 800 of those were MS-13.

A man is taken into custody by FBI agents Wednesday, May 17, 2017, in Los Angeles.
Hundreds of federal and local law enforcement fanned out across Los Angeles, serving arrest and search warrants as part of a three-year investigation into the violent and brutal street gang MS-13. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Richardson added, “They’re interested in sending younger, more violent offenders into this country to be enforcers for the gang.”

Raymond Villanueva, the Assistant Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, verified that his agency is looking into the issue. “We’re looking at the information we’re getting and doubling down our efforts against MS-13,” he declared.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the International Association of Chiefs of Police that his prosecutors and law enforcement officials would use “whatever laws we have” to get MS-13 members off the streets.

“They will go after MS-13 with a renewed vigor and a sharpened focus,” Sessions said to the chiefs of police. “Just like we took Al Capone off the streets with our tax laws, we will use whatever laws we have to get MS-13 off of our streets.”

“We will not concede a block or street corner in the U.S. to lawlessness or crime,” Sessions added. “The criminals, the members, and the drug traffickers should know: We are coming after you — and we have better tools and are better coordinated than ever.”

“MS-13 members rape, rob, extort, and murder. Guided by their motto – “kill, rape, and control” – they leave misery, devastation, and death in their wake,” The AG said.

During a joint investigation revealed in November, ICE officials noted that 214 MS-13 members in the U.S. and 53 in El Salvador were arrested as part of “Operation Raging Bull.” The transnational investigation took place over the course of 18 months.

“MS-13 has been a priority for ICE. We are now combating with renewed focus, and an unprecedented level of cooperation among DHS’s components and our domestic and international partners,” ICE Deputy Director and Senior Official Thomas Homan said.

“ICE can pursue complex cases using our statutory authorities and prevent crime by using our arrest authorities to remove gang members from the country. We will not rest until every member and leader has been held accountable, and those in this country illegally have been removed.”

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