Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents arrested nearly 800 members of the hyper-violent transnational MS-13 gang in operations carried out across the U.S. in Fiscal Year 2017. The arrests came as part of an emphasis from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security that resulted in the arrest of nearly 5,000 total gang members.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials reported the arrest of 4,818 criminal gang members including 796 MS-13 gang members and affiliates during FY2017. The gang members were arrested for “a myriad of criminal activity, including murder, extortion, narcotics and weapons trafficking, human smuggling/trafficking and prostitution and other crimes with a nexus to the border,” officials stated.
ICE officials carried out multiple operations targeting dangerous street gangs. One of those, Operation Community Shield, began more than 10 years ago. In 2017, HSI agents conducted a six-week roundup of criminal illegal immigrants. The operation that ended in May led to the arrests of 1,378 gang members. Of those, 1,098 were arrested on state/federal criminal charges including 21 for murder and seven for rape and sexual assault. An additional 280 were arrested for immigration violations.
Officials reported that 933 of those arrested were U.S. citizens while an additional 445 were foreign nationals from 21 different countries. They came to the U.S. from South and Central America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean.
In June, HSI agents and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers targeted MS-13 gang members and their associates in Operation Matador, Breitbart Texas reported at the time.
The efforts of the joint task force led to the arrest of 45 people including 39 affiliated with MS-13, two affiliated with the Sureños gang, one with the 18th Street Gang, one with the Latin Kings, one with Los Niños Malos, and one with Patria. Twenty of these people had additional criminal histories including assault and weapons charges.
Operation Caso Pilato came to a head after an 18-month international effort that led to the arrest of 53 MS-13 gang members and associates in El Salvador. The arrests came during the Operation Tecana enforcement phase, officials stated. These actions worked on disrupting the capacity of the Stoners Locos Clique of MS-13 which had generated $1.9 million in illegal revenue since 2015, the report states. The revenue stream came from criminal activities including extortion, robbery, vehicle theft, money laundering, assault, and homicides.
While that was going on in El Salvador, agents in the U.S. rounded up 214 MS-13 gang members in the U.S. as part of Operation Raging Bull.
“The presence of violent transnational street gangs, as well as the amount and violent nature of the criminal activity they support, presents on ongoing challenge to law enforcement at every level,” ICE officials concluded in the report. “Whether on the local, state or federal level, effective collaboration with other law enforcement partners is an essential part of the criminal investigations HSI conduct.”