U.S. law enforcement officials arrested over a dozen MS-13 members in Ohio and Indiana Tuesday morning as the nationwide crackdown on the hyper violent transnational gang continues.
Fifteen alleged MS-13 members face federal charges – 13 of whom are now in custody – while the other two remain fugitives, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
Making the announcement were Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman of the Southern District of Ohio, Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers of the FBI, Detroit Field Office Director Rebecca Adducci of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations, Sheriff Dallas Baldwin of Franklin County and Chief Kim Jacobs of Columbus Police.
“With more than 10,000 members across 40 states, MS-13 is one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the United States today,” Sessions said. “MS-13 members have killed children and pregnant women, extorted immigrant-owned businesses, and trafficked underage girls to sell them for sex. President Trump has ordered the Department of Justice to reduce crime and take down transnational criminal organizations, and we will be relentless in our pursuit of these objectives. Today’s charges are our next step toward making this country safer by taking MS-13 off of our streets for good.”
The first indictment, against 10 of the defendants, alleges they conspired to commit extortion using violence and force to scare their victims into paying them money that they sent to their MS-13 associates in El Salvador. Prosecutors believe the money was used to “promote and facilitate the criminal activities of MS-13 in El Salvador and the U.S.”
The remaining five defendants face charges of illegal reentry after being deported, an immigration crime, that is punishable by up two years in prison.