The U.S. Treasury Department has frozen the assets of two Salvadoran nationals who are notorious leaders of the drug trafficking MS-13 gang.
Dany Balmore Romero Garcia and Jose Roberto Orellana were singled out by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) Feb. 17 for their leadership in MS-13. The gang made history in October 2012 when it became “the first transnational criminal street gang to be designated by OFAC as a Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO).
The two Salvadorans are allegedly “responsible for orchestrating assassination campaigns against Salvadoran law enforcement, military, and government officials,” according to Treasury.
The gang has been in the cross hairs of US law enforcement lately with prominent cases involving the gang being carried out in both New Jersey and Massachusetts. The New Jersey US Attorney’s Office started jury selection Feb. 9 for various cases involving 14 alleged MS-13 members accused of multiple crimes including murder and drug trafficking.
Over 400 federal, state, and local officers were involved in the Jan. 29 arrest of 56 alleged MS-13 members in the Boston area that have been indicted by the US Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts. The charges being faced by the alleged gang members range from murder and drug trafficking, to RICO conspiracy and weapons charges.
The gang originated in the Los Angeles area in the 1980s and was primarily made up of Salvadoran nationals. To this day, El Salvador is central to MS-13’s history and operations but the group has developed a widespread presence.
The East Coast hub for the gang is the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia metropolitan area. MS-13 also has a large presence in Honduras.
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