Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director Thomas Homan told The Daily Caller Tuesday that his “gang is bigger” than MS-13 and that he will carry out President Donald Trump’s goal of dismantling the violent criminal organization.
The Trump administration has focused on targeting the transnational street gang, and Trump said at a cabinet meeting on June 12 that MS-13 is being “depleted” and “will be gone pretty soon.”
The gang has its leadership in El Salvador and recruits from the immigrant community in the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has previously pegged the number of members at 30,000 in El Salvador and 10,000 spread across 40 U.S. states.
ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has been conducting gang raids ever since the beginning of January and these have led to the arrests of 3,111 gang members — 357 of whom have been MS-13 members. ICE has also deported 2,798 gang members in Fiscal Year 2017.
Homan told TheDC that while HSI “targets many gangs,” they are concentrating on MS-13 as “they seem to be the most violent right now and they think they can act with impunity.”
Top law enforcement officials testified before a Senate committee in May about MS-13 violence. J. Thomas Manger — chief of police in Montgomery County, Maryland and president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association — said that many of the gang’s victims suffer from “multiple blunt force trauma and stab wounds” and are “left in shallow graves in isolated wooded areas.”
“We’re taking this seriously. My gang is bigger than theirs and we are going to take them out,” Homan told TheDC. “That’s the goal. The president supports that. We’re going to follow through on the president’s promise and we are going to take out MS-13 as much as we can.”
A recent operation led by ICE HSI and local New York law enforcement led to the arrest of 39 MS-13 members over a 30-day period.