American Investigators, from DEA and New York Police forces, have arrested more than 230 suspected MS-13 gang members in New York, Baltimore and El Salvador, US officials announced Friday, in a move celebrated by President Donald Trump.
The operation against the notorious Hispanic gang was the result of more than two years of multi-agency investigative work, US drug agency DEA officials and the Suffolk County prosecutor said in a statement.
#MS13 has terrorized #LongIsland for decades @realDonaldTrump deserves credit for bringing these ANIMALS to the attention of the rest of the country great job to all law enforcement involved in this bust #StrongIsland 💪🏼 https://t.co/WHjlpguIbv
— Catherine (@catherinemary17) December 20, 2019
Of more than 230 people arrested, 96 were from Long Island — New York borough that has become a stronghold of MS-13 over the years– although the statement did not specify if they were American or foreign nationals.
Shortly after the announcement, Trump tweeted in his usual characteristic jubilant style “We are getting MS-13 gang members, and many other people that shouldn’t be here, out of our Country!”
MS-13 originated from Los Angeles but during a crackdown in the 1990s many of their members were deported to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
The president has frequently linked illegal gang activity to his campaign to lower migration to the US. In 2017 he said MS-13 had “literally taken power in American cities and towns”.
“Today’s arrests close the book on MS-13’s attempt to build an arsenal of brutality on the East Coast,” said DEA Special Agent Ray Donovan.
We are getting MS-13 gang members, and many other people that shouldn’t be here, out of our Country! https://t.co/Cfk4iIBVTQ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2019
He said the investigation had given officials valuable insight into the gang’s “goals of recruitment, expansion, brutality, violence and rule.”
US district attorney Timothy Sini added that at least seven murder plots had been prevented as a result of the case.
Around 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of cocaine, heroin, cannabis and fentanyl pills were also seized.
MS-13 originated from Los Angeles, on the west coast, but during a crackdown in the 1990s many of their members were deported to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
There, they gained power, helping to make northern Central America one of the deadliest regions in the world. Their emergence in the East coast of the United States (New York) is thus a second life or reincarnation of the gangs. Will the recent actions by DEA and New York police forces put an end to their existence is not clear.