Just miles from the White House, an MS-13 gang has set up shop and is terrorizing a local immigrant community in Maryland. Their stronghold persists despite efforts by the Trump Administration to reign in the hyperviolent transnational criminal gang.
Abigail Bautista, an illegal alien from Guatemala, moved into the migrant neighborhood in Langley Park, Maryland, in 2012 and within a month, she began feeling the fear of living in an MS-13 community, the Washington Post reported.
The mother of five repeated the story of her first MS-13 encounter. Bautista described the fear she felt as she pushed her cart along the roadway and three young men walked up to her. She said one of the men asked her, “Do you know who we are?”
When she said no, they responded, “We are La Mara Salvatrucha. And here, there are rules.”
One of those rules includes paying $60 “rent” per week “or there would be trouble,” she explained.
The community in which she lives is located seven miles from the White House, the article states.
Many of the victims of MS-13 violence are illegal aliens living in communities from Houston to Northern Virginia and northward to New York, where President Trump spoke about gang violence earlier this year.
“Together, we’re going to restore safety to our streets and peace to our communities, and we’re going to destroy the vile criminal cartel MS-13 and many other gangs,” he promised the law enforcement officers who gathered in July.
During Fiscal Year 2017, the President and the Department of Justice made immigration enforcement and cracking down on gang violence top priorities. The result is the arrest of 5,000 gang members during FY2017–including nearly 800 MS-13 members, Breitbart Texas reported this December.
Despite the effort to crack down on the MS-13, they still continue operations in cities across the country.
“They are preying on the communities that they are living in,” Michael McElhenny, a supervisory special agent for the FBI in Maryland told the Washington Post.
The Washington Post emphasized the connection between a wave of nearly 200,000 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) who have illegally crossed the border in recent years–mostly from El Salvador and Honduras that are MS-13 hotbeds.
About 4,500 of these UACs settled in Prince George County, Maryland, including many in the Langley Park community.
“When those kids flee [Central America], communication goes from there to here,” Mark Edberg, a public health professor at George Washington University told the reporter. “The gang says, ‘Okay, you’ve got a bunch of kids coming up — step up the pressure, step up the recruitment’.” Edberg has been studying the gang violence in this community since 2005.
A few years ago, Bautista paid human smugglers to sneak her son she had abandoned in Guatemala nearly a decade earlier across the U.S. border with Mexico. Once he entered the U.S. as a teenager, the U.S. government completed the smugglers’ mission by flying him to his mother in Maryland.
It took less than a year for the young Denis Montufar-Bautista to find himself on the “fringes of the gang — and in grave danger,” the Washington Post reported. When he refused to sell drugs for the gang in High Point High School, members of the gang reportedly beat him. His mother eventually went to the police.
Denis had several other run-ins with the gang and was beaten several times before the gang finally lured him to his death. The gang allegedly beat and stabbed him for talking to police officers.
Prince George’s County, Maryland, is listed as a sanctuary city/county by the Center for Immigration Studies.