Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a previously unannounced trip to the home base of the savage “MS-13” gang Thursday: San Salvador, El Salvador.
Sessions met with local partners in the Central American country as the White House held its own press conference discussing the transnational criminal organization responsible for a wave of third-world brutality across the United States.
As Sessions met with Salvadoran President Salvador Sánchez Cerén and the attorneys general of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala on strategy to combat the group, his department announced that the Salvadoran government had charged 113 MS-13 members in a sweep that netted 593 total gangsters in the war torn nation.
MS-13, the popular name for Mara Salvatrucha, grew out of Salvadoran refugee communities in Los Angeles, California, many of whom fled to this country in the 1980s to escape El Salvador’s horrific civil war and the right-wing death squads operating throughout Central America at the time. The gang is now estimated to have tens of thousands of members in the United States and throughout Central America.
MS-13 is suspected of responsibility in numerous crimes of shocking barbarity in previously peaceful communities across the United States. In suburban Long Island, New York, in April, four men, ages 16-20, were tortured and mutilated to the point that their tattoos had to be used to identify them in a suspected MS-13 implementation of “La Programma” – The Program – the gang’s term for a doctrine of rape, murder, torture designed to discourage any competitors in criminal enterprises. Two additional bodies were discovered in March in leafy Subruban Fairfax, Virginia, too badly disfigured to be identified.
Sessions has previously marked MS-13 as a priority target for both law enforcement and deportation operations, going so far as to suggest the group may be designated a “foreign terrorist organization.” Speaking near the site of the Long Island murders in April, Sessions told the gang directly, “We are targeting you. We are coming after you.”
Today’s press conference is not the first time recently the White House has chosen to focus on MS-13. Last week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders specifically cited work on MS-13, as demanded by the president’s executive order of February 9, to dispel questions of the president’s lack of confidence in Sessions.