Big Round-Up Of MS-13 Gang Members In US


Homan vowed to continue going after the gang, saying it is a top ICE priority.

Ninety-three of 214 arrestees are charged with federal or state criminal offenses and will face prison time in the United States, said Derek Benner, the deputy executive associate director of the Homeland Security Investigations division. It has led to more than 200 MS-13 arrests nationwide.

"This successful operation continues our efforts to attack MS-13 - both domestically and overseas - disrupting their financial networks", said Homan.

We will not be done until we have totally dismantled this organization.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested dozens of alleged MS-13 members in NY as part of a crackdown on the gang, officials said.

The gang originated in Los Angeles in the 1980s, then entrenched itself in Central America when its leaders were deported.

ICE reports that 16 of the 214 arrested were U.S. citizens and 198 were foreign nationals, of which only five had legal status to be in the U.S. Foreign nationals arrested were from El Salvador (135), Honduras (29), Mexico (17), Guatemala (12), Ecuador (four) and Costa Rica (one).

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"MS-13 members use violence to defend and augment their power and territory", said David Rybicki, deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice's criminal division border patrol. "Operation Raging Bull" took place from September to November and utilized ICE, Border Patrol, USCIS, Bureau of Prisons, and other domestic and global law enforcement agencies to identify and arrest members of MS-13. Another 53 were arrested in EL Salvador in an earlier operation.

Bourke did not have other details, including whether any of the people arrested had been in jail.

There are about 30,000 MS-13 members worldwide, including 10,000 in the United States, according to information provided by the Justice Department. Many UACs claim to immigration officials that they are fleeing their home countries as a result of the gang presence there, and have been allowed into the country to pursue years-long immigration and family court proceedings. Only 5 of those born overseas had legal status and 64 had crossed the border illegally as minors, they said. He said Operation Raging Bull played out in two phases.

But gang membership is not a crime, and the agents did not have a criminal warrant.

ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan said combating MS-13 has always been a priority for the agency.

Last month, Sessions formally designated MS-13 as a "priority" for the department's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, a collective of several law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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