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MS-13 Gang Members Arrested


Some 39 MS-13 gang members were arrested over the last month as part of Operation Matador by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other law enforcement organizations, ICE said in a statement released Wednesday.

MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, started in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s by Salvadoran immigrants and often preys on other immigrants who don’t have legal status, according to the Los Angeles Times.

President Donald Trump has specifically pointed out MS-13 in speeches in the past and at one time blamed the Obama administration’s “weak immigration policies” for their spread, stated the Times.

“Transnational gangs like MS-13 bring nothing but violence and conflict to our communities and their presence will not be tolerated,” Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations New York, said in the ICE statement. “Their vicious criminal activities present an ongoing challenge for law enforcement everywhere.

“It is with the efforts of our federal partners under (Department of Homeland Security) and the incredible assistance provided by our local law enforcement partnerships with Suffolk County and Nassau County Police Departments that we will continue to dismantle these gangs piece by piece to enhance the safety and security of our communities,” Melendez continued.

Operation Matador has made 45 New York-area gang arrests over the last 30 days, including the 39 MS-13 members. The gang has been blamed for a string of murders on Long Island recently, the New York Post reported.

Gang members are known for drug trafficking, kidnapping, human smuggling, murder, and sex trafficking, noted the Post. MS-13 members also are known for tattooing their bodies in devil horns — a trend that is helping law enforcement properly ID them for arrest and deportation, according to the Post.

“Of the gang members arrested during this ongoing enforcement action, 20 had additional criminal histories, including prior convictions for assault and weapons charges,” the ICE statement said. “One has pending felony grand larceny charges and a final order of removal.

“… Twelve individuals arrested during this operation crossed the border as unaccompanied minors, all of which were confirmed as MS-13 gang members. Three individuals arrested during this operation entered the United States with Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, all of which were confirmed as MS-13 gang members,” the statement continued.


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