The Department of Justice announced terrorism indictments for 14 leaders of the MS-13 gang in a Thursday afternoon press release.
MS-13’s Highest-Ranking Leaders Charged with Terrorism Offenses in the United States https://t.co/1yQi7dB1Eh
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) January 14, 2021
The terrorism indictment alleges that these 14 MS-13 gang leaders, part of the Ranfla Nacional leadership structure of the organization, committed four counts of terrorism: conspiracy to provide and conceal material support and resources to terrorists, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiracy to finance terrorism, and narco-terrorism conspiracy.
Crimes the Ranfla Nacional committed include directing violence against officials of the government of El Salvador, committing violent acts in the United States including murders in retaliation for the termination of a “truce” between the United States and El Salvador, establishing rules for MS-13 gang members whose violation could lead to “beatings” or death, and authorizing “green lights” which was code language for authorizing the murders of individuals in the United States and abroad, according to the indictment document.
Notably, the crimes these MS-13 gang leaders were indicted for were in direct violation of Title 18 in the United States Code, which protect against “conspiracy to kill or main persons outside the United States,” “killing or attempting to kill an officer or employee of the United States,” “conspiracy to kill United States nationals,” and “acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries,” according to the indictment document.
The indictment was drawn up by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. (RELATED: Rick Snyder Pleads Not Guilty To Neglect Charges Stemming From Flint Water Crisis)
Five officials — Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen, Acting U.S. Attorney Seth D. DuCharme for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY), Director of Joint Task Force Vulcan (JTFV) John J. Durham, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, and Executive Associated Director Derek Benner of HSI — announced the unsealing of the terrorism indictment of these gang leaders in New York, according to a DOJ press release.
“MS-13 is responsible for a wave of death and violence that has terrorized communities, leaving neighborhoods on Long Island and throughout the Eastern District of New York awash in bloodshed,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Seth D. DuCharme at the unsealing of the indictment. “Today’s ground-breaking indictment seeks to demolish MS-13 by targeting its command and control structure and holding MS-13’s Board of Directors accountable for their terroristic actions.”
If the defendants of the indictment charges — some of whom are still at large according to an FBI “Most Wanted” document — are convicted on the terrorism allegations, they will face a maximum sentence of life in prison.