"We will not rest until every member, associate and leader of MS-13 has been held accountable for their crimes", said Thomas Horman, director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced yesterday that it had completed an worldwide operation to help dismantle the deadly immigrant gang MS-13. Five were legal immigrants.
"This successful operation continues our efforts to attack MS-13 - domestically and overseas - disrupting their financial networks", he continued, adding that MS-13 is involved in a wide range of "criminal activities" including human trafficking, murder and prostitution.
The arrests were part of a nationwide operation dubbed "Operation Raging Bull", which netted a total of 267 arrests. About 60 of the arrests involved people illegally crossing the border as unaccompanied children, officials said.
There are about 30,000 MS-13 members worldwide, including 10,000 in the United States, according to information provided by the Justice Department. "I am announcing that I have authorized them to use every lawful tool to investigate MS-13-not just our drug laws, but everything from RICO to our tax laws to our firearms laws", Sessions said to the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Philadelphia on October 23. "These 267 arrests are the next step toward making this country safer by taking MS-13 off of our streets for good".
"Operation Raging Bull" was carried out in two parts. "The violence they perpetrate is shocking and shows no remorse or even a basic respect to human life", Homan said during a news conference in Washington, D.C. ICE prioritizes its enforcement operations the same way as any other law enforcement agency: to protect the public.
In July, U.S. immigration agents launched raids on suspected gang members that for the first time included teenagers, reversing the practice of the previous administration.
Homan said the gang traffics in drugs, extortion and violence.
"With more than 10,000 members across 40 states, MS-13 is one of the most risky criminal organizations in the United States today", said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. All are suspected of being somewhere in the U.S.
David Rybicki, deputy assistant attorney general, spoke of eight MS-13 members indicted in Maryland on federal charges of conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, conspiracy to commit murder, and drug offenses.
In one of the murders, Rybicki said, the defendants lured the victim, tried to shoot him, and then stabbed him to death. HSI has arrested some 7,000 MS-13 members since 2005.