Law enforcement immigration officers and agents joined forces to round up 39 members of the hyper-violent MS-13 criminal gang. Six other people were also arrested during the operation.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents teamed up in Operation Matador to arrest a total of 45 criminal gang members. In addition to the 39 MS-13 members, the operation led to the arrest of two Sureños, one member of the 18th Street Gang, one Latin King, one Los Niños Malos, and one with Patria, according to information obtained by Breitbart Texas from ICE officials. Operation Matador was conducted over a 30-day period of time.
“Transnational gangs like MS-13 bring nothing but violence and conflict to our communities and their presence will not be tolerated. Their vicious criminal activities present an ongoing challenge for law enforcement everywhere,” Special Agent in Charge of HSI New York Angel M. Melendez said in a written statement. “It is with the efforts of our federal partners under DHS and the incredible assistance provided by our local law enforcement partnerships with Suffolk County and Nassau County Police Departments that we will continue to dismantle these gangs piece by piece to enhance the safety and security of our communities.”
Officials stated that 20 of the gang members had criminal histories. Some of those offenses include convictions for assault and weapons charges. One of the gang members reportedly has a conviction for larceny and a final order of removal from an immigration judge.
Other significant gang members arrested include:
- An El Salvadoran national arrested in Suffolk County with a criminal history of felony assault.
- A Honduran national arrested in Suffolk County with a criminal history of menacing with a weapon and disorderly conduct, fighting and violent behavior.
- A Mexican national arrested in Suffolk County with a felony possession of a weapon, carrying a loaded weapon and misdemeanor menacing with a weapon.
- A Honduran national arrested in Nassau county with a prior conviction of criminal possession of weapon.
- An El Salvadoran national arrested in Nassau County with a criminal history of felony attempted assault, disorderly conduct and misdemeanor harassment.
- An El Salvadoran national arrested in Suffolk County with a prior felony conviction of criminal possession of a loaded firearm.
“These individuals are members of a violent street gang actively wreaking havoc in the community. This unified effort is about keeping New York citizens safe,” New York ERO Field Office Director Thomas R. Decker said in the statement. “ERO and HSI, along with our law enforcement partners, face no limitations in the apprehension and dismantling of transnational criminal organizations. We will not rest until our communities are safer and individuals like these are brought to justice.”
More than 30 of the arrests came in Suffolk County, which routinely releases criminal aliens from its jail, even if ICE has placed an immigration hold on the suspect.
In April, Breitbart News reported on the massacre of four Hispanic young men from Long Island, New York. The bodies of the men were so mutilated, they could only be identified by tattoos. Police eventually tied the murders to MS-13.
Breitbart Texas has been covering this violent transnational gang for several years. In July 2013, we reported on four MS-13 gang members that were convicted on counts of murder, armed robberies, and firearms offenses. That trial lasted for four weeks. At that time, FBI officials indicated members of the MS-13 gang were active in at least 42 states and had between 6,000 and 10,000 members. Those numbers have increased substantially with the massive influx of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) from Central American countries, particularly El Salvador.
On June 10, Breitbart Texas reported the numbers of UACs, particularly from El Salvador, being apprehended at our southern border with Mexico is again on the rise following a six-month downtrend. Since October 1, 2916, 8005 UACs from El Salvador have been apprehended after crossing the border illegally – 1,493 in May alone. This is nearly a fifty percent increase from the previous month. Almost half of those apprehended this month had crossed in the Rio Grande Valley Sector in south Texas.
ICE officials stated that of the 39 MS-13 gang members arrested in Operation Matador, 12 had entered the U.S. as unaccompanied minors. Three other members entered the U.S. under Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Some of those arrested had previously been deported and now face felony charges for illegal re-entry after removal, officials stated.
The rise of MS-13 violence has also dramatically impacted crime in the nation’s fourth-largest city, Houston, where Governor Greg Abbott announced in April, the creation of a Texas Anti-Gang Task Force to target these criminal aliens.
Breitbart Texas covered the press conference on April 11 of this year in Houston Gov. Abbott announced the expansion of the Texas Anti-Gang Task Force (TAG) and the creation of a technical operations center. Houston is one of the five cities that the FBI has identified to have a large MS-13 presence.
ICE officials worked with state and county law enforcement officers in conducting the operation. Operation Matador was carried out under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security’s Transnational Organized Crime Initiative.