Tuesday, June 13, 2017


America's most violent gang: How MS-13 spread from El Salvador to more than 40 US states as 10,000 MEMBERS enforce bloody rule with GUNS and MACHETES

By AFP and Darren Boyle

Daily Mail
June 12, 2017

A notorious Central American street gang famed for its heavily tattooed members and torturing its victims has now established its self across the United States.

As well as shootings, MS-13 is known to kill its victims with baseball bats and machetes. Police and federal investigators believe they have a presence in 40 states as well as Mexico, Canada and Spain.

Such is the danger posed by MS-13, President Donald Trump has branded them a national security threat and uses their atrocities as evidence for his need to prevent 'bad hombres' crossing into the United States.

Recently, Trump claimed the gang has 'literally taken over towns and cities of the United States.'

He added: 'MS-13 is going to be gone from our streets very soon, believe me.'

According to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, 1,100 gang members or associates have been arrested. But two-thirds of those arrested were US citizens, not immigrants, and only 104 were members of MS-13.

However, in November 2016, the street gang suffered a major setback when senior gang member Joel Antonio Cortez - known as 'Pee Wee', was jailed for 13 years for racketeering, extortion, drug distribution and conspiracy to commit murder.

Cortez and his co-accused, Amilcar Romero, known as 'Chi Chi' were the top deputies to MS-13's US leader Jose Juan Rodriguez-Juarez - who wanted all local affiliates to submit to his control.

According to court documents: 'By autumn 2013, Rodriguez-Juarez had assigned Romero to serve as the primary point-of-contact between the leadership of Mara Salvatrucha in the United States and El Salvador, while Cortez assumed responsibility for recruiting Mara Salvatrucha cliques on the east coast of the United States to join the national program.

'Both are also alleged to have ordered acts of violence, including Cortez’s authorization of a November 2013 murder plot in Hudson County. Law enforcement learned of the murder plot during the course of the investigation and arrested the New Jersey-based conspirators before it could be completed. Cortez and Romero also ordered east coast-based gang members to collect money on behalf of the gang by force and violence.'

The pair were also accused of working with MS-13 members in New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and other states to distribute Mexican cartel drugs.

Cortez was already serving a 22-year jail term for a 2004 conviction for second-degree robbery in California.

Recently Los Angeles police arrested 21 members of MS-13 - a dozen of whom were gang leaders - and charged 44 people in the city's biggest ever operation against the group.

Hector Silva, a Salvadoran with Insight Crime, a research group that focuses on organized crime in Latin America, says the gang is the perfect foil for Trump's policies.

MS-13, he says, kills two birds with one stone for Trump: 'In the minds of Americans, gangs are Latin American, hence they are both bad and foreign,' Silva says.

But experts and law enforcement officials warn that the strategy could make combating MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha as the gang is also known, more difficult.

Police say undocumented Hispanics are the victims in nearly all MS-13 crimes, and Trump's anti-immigration policies keep them from coming forward with information about the violence, for fear of being deported.

New York's Suffolk County was the scene of a brutal murder in April of four young men, whose mutilated bodies were found dumped in a wooded area in the town of Central Islip.

One was 16 years old, two were 18 and the fourth was 20 - and the extreme violence with which they were killed pointed to MS-13.

But the county's police commissioner, Timothy Sini, told a US Senate hearing that cracking down on illegal immigrants is not helping police investigators.

'If individuals believe that they cannot freely cooperate with law enforcement because of their immigration status, the mission of the police department and the safety of all residents are compromised,' Sini said.

Silva says undocumented immigrants are more afraid of being deported than they are of run-ins with the gang.

'They can live with the gang, as cruel as it is, but not with deportation,' he said.

In New York, police and federal officers arrested three members of MS-13 on suspicion of attempted murder in aid of racketeering.

Jose Gonzalez, known as Flaco, Kevin Paniagua, known as 'Stomper' and Francisco Ramos were arrested following a brutal attack on a rival gang member on October 23, 2016.

Ramos, who is accused of being an associate of MS-13, drove Flaco and Stomper to meet a member of the 18th Street gang for a beating in Jamaica, Queens. Stomper is accused of beating the rival gangster and shooting him in the head, leaving him as a paraplegic.

Prosecutors claimed Stomper tried to shoot his victim a second time but the gun jammed.

Acting US attorney Bridget Rohde said: 'As alleged in the complaint, the defendants were members and an associate of MS-13, an international gang known for its culture of murder.

'They sought to spread fear throughout the community by attempting to kill an individual they suspected to be a rival gang member. We will work with our law enforcement partners to make our communities safer by holding accountable those who are responsible for such acts of violence.'

FBI Director-in-Charge William Sweeney added: 'MS-13 feeds on violence and chaos, and forces people to live in fear. As we arrest and charge more gang members, they’re seeing they can’t operate in the shadows and escape getting caught. The FBI New York Office is committed to disrupting violent gangs like MS-13 that operate in the New York metropolitan area. We and our law enforcement partners will not stop investigating and rounding up members who hope to rebuild their hierarchy after we make arrests.'

MS-13 emerged in the 1980s in the streets of Los Angeles among Salvadoran immigrants who had fought in their country's brutal civil war.

The gang caught on, and its ranks spread to other Central American immigrants.

In the 1990s and 2000s, many gang members were deported to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, where they gained immense power, turning Central America's northern triangle into the world's deadliest region not at war.

Many then returned to the United States, strengthened by their organizational base in Central America.

Today, MS-13 has a presence across the US, and has become expert at smuggling deportees back into the country.

It also is exploiting the vulnerability of the thousands of Central American minors who cross the border alone.

'We're concerned that MS-13 is recruiting younger people,' said Sini. 'In one instance, a 10-year-old.'

The average age of the gang members arrested in Suffolk County, which encompasses the eastern end of Long Island, is 18, he said.

MS-13 is not a big drug trafficking cartel, like the powerful Colombian and Mexican crime groups. Instead, it finances itself with street sales of drugs, extortion, human trafficking and sometimes prostitution.

It was declared a 'transnational criminal organization' in 2012 by the United States.

'I don't think that MS-13 is a security threat to the United States ... but rather a threat to the security of Hispanic communities,' said Silva.

'Where they truly are a national security threat is in El Salvador,' he said.

In Los Angeles, US attorney Sandra Brown said: 'This gang is responsible for murders - both of rival gangsters and innocent bystanders - as well as drug dealing and extortion in many communities in the Los Angeles area.

'With thousands of members here ... the gang's power is widespread - power which it maintains with severe acts of violence.'

Eric Harden of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Los Angeles added: 'This gang uses coercion and intimidation while inflicting horrific violence in the neighborhoods where they operate.'

1 comment:

bob walsh said...

So don't deport them. Hang them.