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MS-13 border apprehensions in south Texas already up 212 percent for 2018 fiscal year

January 7, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
MS-13 border apprehensions in south Texas already up 212 percent for 2018 fiscal year

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The capture and arrests of MS-13 members in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas have increased 212% during the first three months of Fiscal Year 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.

“We are apprehending one MS-13 gang member per day,” RGV Sector Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla, Jr. said in an interview with Breitbart Texas. “This year, we have apprehended 53 MS-13 gang members.” This number represents an increase of 212% over the same period in FY2017.

Padilla noted the RGV Sector is heading the nation in MS-13 apprehensions. “Because of the numbers of illegal crossings in this sector, we lead in a lot of categories,” the chief added.

According to Breitbart Texas, categories include Unaccompanied Alien Children, Family Unit Aliens, stash houses, high-speed chases, and migrant deaths.

The RGV Sector comprised 46% of all apprehensions along the border with Mexico during FY 2017. There are eight other sectors along the border. In the first two months of FY 2018, the RGV arrested almost 10,000.

“The apprehension of these MS-13 members is a priority for the RGV Sector and this administration,” Padilla said. He added that this is because of the “gruesome activity” in places like Houston, New York City, and Maryland.

“While a lot of the crimes committed by MS-13 gang members were carried out by people who entered the U.S. as alien minors, the arrests we have made this year are adults,” the chief noted. “Another thing we have noticed is the lack of tattoos that are used to identify these gang members.” He said that it looks like the gang members are attempting to lay low and not be visible because of the law enforcement pressure across the country.

In addition to the dangerous MS-13, Padilla’s agents also arrested 21 members of the 18th Street Gang–which is another El Salvador-based group. He said this number had increased 10% compared to the year prior.

Padilla said they often find the members blended in with other migrants. He referred to them as “the threat in the mix.”

The chief said there are consequences for the members when they are arrested after illegally crossing into the U.S.

“If they have no prior criminal history, they are subject to ‘controlled deportation,’” the chief stated. The members are not deported with others. Instead, they are turned directly over to law enforcement officials in their native country.

Those who have previous criminal histories or deportations in the U.S. face a different path. A gang member with prior deportations but no other criminal past faces felony prosecution for illegal re-entry.

For previously deported gang members, the penalty is much harsher. “This is an aggravated felony where the penalty can be up to 20 years in prison,” the chief continued.

Human smuggling is another major area of concern.

“We are trying to raise awareness of this dangerous practice where smugglers pack these migrants into the back of 18-wheelers,” he stated. “We want people who see those being loaded into trailers to call in and report the activity. This action will save lives,” he emphasized.

Finally, Chief Padilla said his sector is also seeing a massive increase in the drug seizures.

“We have seen a 172% increase in the amount of cocaine seized this year,” he said. “In the past three months, agents seized 463 pounds of cocaine.” He reported that the value of these drugs is approximately $15 million.

He said that during this same period that the seizure of marijuana has decreased, saying that “The smugglers are turning to hard drugs.”

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