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19 November 2017, 01:49 | Lionel James
ICE Operation Raging Bull Heat Map
"In their relentless effort to expand gang membership and gain traction within our communities, they aggressively target our children in the schools".
The first phase started in September and resulted in the arrests of 53 suspected MS-13 members in El Salvador, where most of its members come from.
We will not be done until we have totally dismantled this organization.
Almost 300 members and associates of the infamous transnational drug gang MS-13 have been arrested in an interdepartmental collaboration called Operation: Raging Bull, leadership of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency announced Thursday.
The MS-13 gang, also called Mara Salvatrucha, started in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s.
"Of the 214 arrests made in the USA, 93 were arrested on federal and/or state criminal charges", said ICE Homeland Security Investigations Deputy Executive Associate Director Derek Benner.
Of the 214 people arrested, 16 were American citizens and 198 were foreign nationals, of whom five were legal residents.
"With more than 10,000 members across 40 states, MS-13 is one of the most unsafe criminal organizations in the United States today".
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A senior official with Homeland Security Investigations, the investigative arm of ICE, said 93 of the alleged gang members would face federal or state criminal charges, while 121 were arrested on administrative immigration violations, meaning the agency would seek to remove them from the United States.
In April, Trump tweeted that "weak illegal immigration policies of the Obama Admin. allowed bad MS 13 gangs to form in cities across U.S". Sixty-four of those crossed the border illegally as unaccompanied alien children, noted Derek Brenner, the acting executive associate director of HSI.
There are about 30,000 MS-13 members worldwide, including 10,000 in the United States, according to information provided by the Justice Department.
You can read the Department of Justice Press Release here.
While the vast majority of those youths are not criminals, Kolb said, they are a fertile recruiting base for gangs like MS-13.
"So we'll continue to look at arresting every member, every leader and every associate of this criminal gang", Homan added.
Last month, Sessions formally designated MS-13 as a "priority" for the department's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, a collective of several law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Francis Cissna explained that his agency's work to identify illegal aliens with gang affiliations was vital to Raging Bull's success.
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