Attorney General Jeff Sessions will travel to El Salvador Thursday to coordinate an international law enforcement effort to thwart organized crime syndicates brutalizing Central America and the U.S. border, including MS-13.
The Department of Justice organized the summit pursuant to President Trump’s executive order directing federal law enforcement agencies to develop new strategies for cooperating with international partners to defeat transnational criminal organizations which traffic in people and drugs.
Sessions will meet with El Salvadoran President Salvador Sánchez Cerén and the attorneys general of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. He will also participate in meetings, briefings, and public ceremonies related to MS-13 and other criminal groups with a substantial presence in the region.
The attorney general has made the campaign against MS-13 a staple of his tenure at the Justice Department. He visited Central Islip, N.Y. with GOP Rep. Peter King in April after four young men were killed in a savage attack perpetrated by MS-13 foot soldiers.
“I have a message for any gang that targets our young people: we are targeting you, and we are coming after you,” he said during remarks to local law enforcement.
The trip comes as the relationship between the AG and the president is particularly strained. The prospects of his dismissal seemed high earlier this week, though White House Press Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeared to signal that Sessions was, for the moment, secure in his post during a briefing Wednesday.
MS-13 was first organized in Los Angeles in the late 1980s. In the intervening years it has established a robust presence across Central America and in large metropolitan areas in the United States, particularly regions with large Salvadoran communities. The gang organizes drug and prostitution rackets and is notorious for its gruesome violence.
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