March 16, 2005

US Security: U.S. crackdown -- Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13

U.S. crackdown nets 103 alleged members of MS-13 gang -- MS-13 called an emerging threat to U.S. March 14, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than 100 alleged members of the violent Central American street gang MS-13 have been arrested in a nationwide sweep, authorities said Monday.

Using information from local and state law enforcement agencies, federal agents charged 103 members of the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang with a range of criminal and immigration charges. The arrests came in the New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Newark, Miami and Dallas metropolitan areas over the last several weeks.

Officials said MS-13 is one of the largest and most violent street gangs in the United States, and the majority of its members are in the country illegally. The gang has carried out beheadings and grenade attacks in Central America and is known to hack their enemies with machetes in cities along the East Coast in the United States. [. . . . ]

Last month, former Homeland Security Deputy Secretary James Loy called MS-13 an emerging threat to the United States, referring to the gang and the al-Qaida terrorist organization in the same breath in testimony to Congress. Besides al-Qaida, Loy said, "We are seeing the emergence of other threatening groups and gangs like MS-13 that will also be destabilizing influences." [. . . . ]

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