ICE touts arrests of alleged MS-13 gang members

MS-13 Prioritized for DOJ Enforcement, Says AG Sessions

"We will not rest until every member, associate and leader of MS-13 has been held accountable for their crimes", said Thomas Horman, director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents have arrested six alleged MS-13 members in Montgomery County as part of a national crackdown on the gang. And of that group, only five were living legally in the United States.

It is too early to tell what effects operations such as this will have on MS-13's presence and growth in the United States.

The arrests were made as part of continued targeting of the gang. About 60 of the arrests involved people illegally crossing the border as unaccompanied children, officials said.

MS-13 gang members are known for their tattooed bodies.

"MS-13 has always been a priority for ICE".

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).

"However, we are now combating the gang with renewed focus and an unprecedented level of cooperation among DHS's components, and our domestic and global partners", Homan said. ICE prioritizes its enforcement operations the same way as any other law enforcement agency: to protect the public.

Individuals are reportedly confirmed gang members if they admit gang membership among other guidelines, many which are hard to prove.

Homan said the gang traffics in drugs, extortion and violence.

"These same gang members are taking advantage of immigrant communities in which they live-committing acts of horrendous violence against its residents, attracting violence from rival gangs, extorting small businesses, peddling street level narcotics, and coopting the youth and recruiting them into this gang".

The Justice Department said it has secured the convictions of 1,200 gang members and the arrests and indictments of about 4,000 MS-13 members in El Salvador so far this year.

Sixteen of the 214 arrestees in the United States are US citizens. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Francis Cissna said at the news conference his agency helped look for MS-13 members fraudulently seeking immigration benefits and seeking asylum.

"The indictment alleges that in July 2016, several members and associates of the Sailors clique lured a victim to a secluded area, attempted to shoot the victim, and then stabbed the victim to death", he said.

While Operation Raging Bull is being heralded as a victory, there are still many risky MS-13 members that the government is still targeting.

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