Counties across the Washington, D.C., region are suffering from a large spike in criminal activity from the MS-13 gang, which is increasing violent attacks and recruitment.
Officials in the FBI’s Washington Field Office note a troubling trend in MS-13’s activities since 2013 within America following a brief decline in their activity. The crime trends tied to the gang are rising annually and 2016 appears to be no different. Fairfax County, Virginia experienced a 163 percent increase in MS-13 crimes from 2015 figures in the first four months of the year, reports WJLA.
Leaders of the gang from El Salvador want to shift their focus in the U.S. back to drug trafficking to increase their profits.
“They are very fluid,” David LeValley, special agent in charge at the Field Office, told WJLA. “We have seen increased activity and that activity is mirrored by what they’re seeing in Central America.”
A surge of minors crossing the U.S. southern border is helping the notorious gang boost their ranks and instigate a new string of violent attacks around the region. Over the past few years a wave of illegal migrant children crossed the U.S. border, and MS-13 continues to target them for recruitment.
In past years violence from MS-13 members appeared to be on the decline, as the gang shifted focus to human trafficking and running local brothels. A multiple gang truce reached in El Salvador in 2012 also contributed to a lull in violent activity from MS-13. The truce failed, however, sparking a huge uptick in the homicide rates of Central American countries, which is now spilling into America. (RELATED: DC Officials Blame Illegal Immigration For Crime Spike)
“We warned two to three years ago that this influx over the border of illegal aliens was going to cause an increase in MS-13 and other gang-related crime,” Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisor, told Fox 5 in June. “It’s happening. We are seeing it happen. It is not just in the border towns. It is happening all across America and we are seeing it especially here in Northern Virginia and the D.C. region.”
Washington, D.C., has the second largest Salvadorian community in the country behind Los Angeles at roughly 228,000 people.
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