Three MS-13 Members Arrested for Murder in Southern Mexico

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stands in front of pictures of MS-13 gang tattoos during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP File Photo/Alex Brandon

Three Central American MS-13 members were arrested last week for a double murder case which occurred in November 2018 in the southern border state of Chiapas.

These arrests come after a three-month investigation by personnel of the state attorney general’s office after the two victims were discovered in a shallow grave near the Guatemala-Mexico border.

The three MS-13 members were identified as José Carlos “N,” aka “El Chino”; Álvaro “N,” aka “El Toro”; and Carlos Antonio “N,” aka “El Rostro.” The trio was arrested for the double murder of two ex-MS-13 members who were shot to death for leaving the gang. The two victims, both from El Salvador, were discovered on a ranch near Santa Lucia 1, which is located within the municipality of Frontera Hidalgo on November 21, 2018. Both victims were uncovered by dogs belonging to the property owner, according to local news accounts.

The arrests were carried out by personnel from the Transnational Anti-Gang Center, which is an intelligence-sharing group established in the summer of 2018 in Chiapas in response to the growing violence attributed to Central American street gangs and organized crime in the region.

The influx of gangs from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras into Chiapas spans the past five years. During this period, more than 300 leaders from MS-13 and Barrio-18 were arrested, imprisoned, or deported, according to officials. In 2018 alone, 14 “clicas” or “cliques” were identified–consisting of 30 members of MS-13 and 60 from Barrio-18. A total of 18 homicides were attributed to the rival gangs.

The Transnational Anti-Gang Center was set up to help Mexican police identify gang members or leaders fleeing Central America. The unit is made up of specialized personnel from municipal, state, and federal police who receive training from anti-gang investigators from Guatemala and the FBI. Many Central American gang members remain in Mexico and organize criminal cells to engage in street-level drug sales, extortion, and human smuggling operations, according to Breitbart News law enforcement contacts. Other criminals are blending with the migrant caravans to the U.S., according to local reports.

Breitbart News recently reported about a suspected Honduran MS-13 member who gunned down two municipal police officers and a suspected rival in the municipality of Tapachula.

Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at robertrarce@gmail.com.

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