Congressional staffers said that Salvadoran leaders of the notorious MS-13 gang are frustrated that their members in the U.S. are not violent enough. The comments came after a recent visit to El Salvador by the House Homeland Security Committee’s Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee.
Representative Peter King (R-NY) serves as chairman of the subcommittee on counterterrorism. He said his Salvadoran law enforcement members told his staff that leaders of the transnational criminal organization known as MS-13 are “frustrated that MS-13 members in [the U.S.] are not violent enough,” VOA News reported. He continued saying the gang leaders in El Salvador wanted to send “more violent members” to the U.S.
“It’s a horrifying thought,” King said.
His remarks came during a committee hearing where FBI Assistant Director for the Criminal Investigations Division Stephen Richardson testified about the mass arrests and imprisonment of MS-13 gang members and mid-level leaders during the past year.
Immigration officials stated they arrested nearly 5,000 members during Fiscal Year 2017 which ended on September 30, Breitbart Texas reported. Of those, nearly 800 were MS-13.
Speaking of MS-13 gang leaders in El Salvador, Richardson said, “They’re very much interested in sending younger, more violent offenders up through their channels into this country in order to be enforcers for the gang.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Assistant Director Raymond Villaneuva confirmed his agency is investigating the issue. “We’re looking at the information we’re getting and doubling down our efforts against MS-13,” he stated.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the International Association of Chiefs of Police that his prosecutors and law enforcement officials will use “whatever laws we have” to get MS-13 gang members off the streets, Breitbart Texas reported in October.
“Now they will go after MS-13 with a renewed vigor and a sharpened focus,” Sessions told the gathered chiefs of police. “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.”
“We will not concede a single block or street corner in the United States to lawlessness or crime,” Sessions continued. “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.”
“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 stated.
During a joint operation announced in November, ICE officials said that 214 MS-13 members in the U.S. and 53 in El Salvador were rounded up as part of “Operation Raging Bull.” The multinational operation spanned 18 months.
“MS-13 has long been a priority for ICE. However we are now combating the gang with renewed focus and an unprecedented level of cooperation among DHS’s components and our domestic and international partners,” ICE Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director Thomas Homan said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “ICE has the ability to pursue complex criminal cases using our statutory authorities and to prevent crime by using our administrative arrest authorities to remove gang members from the country. We will not rest until every member, associate, and leader of MS-13 has been held accountable for their crimes, and those in this country illegally have been removed.”