Federal authorities confirmed on Thursday that nearly 300 members and associates of the infamous transnational drug gang MS-13 have been arrested in an interdepartmental collaboration called Operation: Raging Bull.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency said the operation was a multi-phase, multi-month project of numerous federal law enforcement agencies. The bust led to a total of 267 arrests of MS-13 members and their criminal associates.
“With more than 10,000 members across 40 states, MS-13 is one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the United States today,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a press conference. “These 267 arrests are the next step toward making this country safer by taking MS-13 off of our streets for good.”
Check out the details from the Washington Free Beacon:
Among those arrested, 16 were citizens, while the other 198 were foreign nationals. Only five of the foreign nationals had legal status. Sixty-four of those crossed the border illegally as unaccompanied alien children, noted Derek Brenner, the acting executive associate director of HSI. HSI has arrested some 7,000 MS-13 members since 2005.
Among those arrested were several notable cases: in Baltimore, four men were arrested on charges of violent crimes in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering; in Denver, a man was arrested with three machetes in his car; and in Los Angeles, the arrest of a Salvadoran national wanted for involvement with the murder of a Salvadoran police officer.
There are an estimated 30,000 MS-13 members worldwide, according to figures from the Department of Justice. The gang has a large presence in New York, Virginia, and the national’s capital.
Known for its motto “kill, rape, control,” members of MS-13 are known for their violent, retributive murders.
“In their relentless effort to expand gang membership and gang traction within our communities, they aggressively target our children in our schools. The violence they perpetrate is shocking, and shows no remorse, or even a basic respect for human life,” said acting ICE Director Tom Homan.
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