U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told police chiefs from across the county that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will use “whatever laws we have” to get MS-13 gang members off of their streets. He pledged to apply not only drug laws, but tax, racketeering, and firearms statutes to round up members of one of the nation’s most violent criminal gangs.
“Now they will go after MS-13 with a renewed vigor and a sharpened focus,” Sessions told the International Association of Chiefs of Police at their annual meeting in Philadelphia “Just like we took Al Capone off the streets with our tax laws, we will use whatever laws we have to get MS-13 off of our streets.”
Sessions told the chiefs that law enforcement agencies like the IRS, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be directed to go after the international criminal gang with a broader range of authority. Previously, the DOJ’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force could only get involved when criminals were connected to the drug trade or to money laundering. Now the department will be able to name a specific organization (like MS-13) as a priority.
“We will not concede a single block or street corner in the United States to lawlessness or crime,” Sessions told the audience of top law enforcement officers. “The criminals, the gang members, and the drug traffickers should know: We are coming after you — and we have better tools and are better coordinated than ever.”
Sessions said the MS-13 gang is perhaps the most brutal of gangs the chiefs will face. He said MS-13 is “based in El Salvador, but whose tentacles reach across Central America, Europe, through forty U.S. States, and to within yards of the U.S. Capitol.”
He told the gathered chiefs of police that MS-13 has more than 40,000 members around the globe and 10,000 of them are in the U.S. “MS-13 members brutally rape, rob, extort, and murder. Guided by their motto – “kill, rape, and control” – they leave misery, devastation, and death in their wake.”
The AG touted his department’s quick success in going after this gang. “We’ve already achieved some important successes this year. Just last month, the Department of Justice – along with our partners in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – announced criminal charges against more than 3,800 gang members operating across the United States and Central America,” he expressed.
Sessions said federal law enforcement agencies “will go after MS-13 with a renewed vigor and a sharpened focus. 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. ”
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with additional information. Quoted remarks are from the Attorney General’s prepared remarks as obtained by Breitbart Texas from the Department of Justice.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, GAB, and Facebook.