This is the gang that’s infiltrating cities and towns across America. And this is how they operate.
Two officers in El Salvador were wounded on Monday after MS-13 put a fake body in an abandoned car to lure police into a car-bomb attack. It’s just the latest in a round of murder police officers and soldiers in the country.
Here’s what happened. Authorities say gang members wrapped a mannequin in blankets inside a car. A suspected body at a soccer field on the outskirts of San Salvador was called into police. When they arrived, MS-13 detonated the explosives.
It comes after the murder of two police officers and three soldiers over the weekend by suspected gang members. All of them were off duty when attacked, and some were playing sports.
Howard Cotto is the nationa police director. He confirmed that the attacks were orchestrated by the Mara Salvatrucha gang, known as MS-13.
“We have identified a group of about 10 suspects who are organizing this wave on a national level for the Mara Salvatrucha gang,” Mr. Cotto said.
According to Ricardo Sosa, an expert on the group, MS-13 is angry about recent police raids aimed at the gang. He also said they are using the attacks to send a message to Nayib Bukele, the country’s new incoming president who takes office June 1.
“I think they are sending a message to the new government saying that they control certain parts of the country, to see what the government’s reaction will be,” Mr. Sosa said.
It’s that violent gang that has border agents in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas on high alert, where they say they have been sending out regular notices that MS-13 members are flooding into the U.S.
Take February, for example:
- Feb. 28: “Rio Grande City agents working near Roma, Texas, arrested a Salvadoran man after he entered the United States illegally. Record checks revealed he is a Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang member with an extensive criminal history in the state of New York…”
- Feb. 26: “Rio Grande Valley Sector agents arrested a Mexican man near Edinburg, Texas. Record checks revealed the man is a member of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang.”
- Feb. 22: “[A]gents patrolling the local ranchlands near Sarita, Texas, arrested eight illegal aliens. During processing, agents noticed one of the subjects displayed several tattoos affiliated with the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang.”
- Feb. 19: “Rio Grande Valley agents arrested an MS-13 and a Sureño gang member in separate incidents.”
- Feb. 14: “Weslaco agents working in Hidalgo, Texas, apprehended a Salvadoran man after he entered the United States illegally. During processing, record checks revealed the man is a member of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang.”
- Feb. 11: “[A]gents from the Rio Grande City station, arrested five illegal aliens. While being processed, record checks for a Salvadoran man revealed he is a MS-13 gang member…”
- Feb. 7: “[A]gents working near Progreso, Texas, arrested 16 illegal aliens after making their illegal entry into the United States. Record checks for a Honduran male revealed he is a member of the MS-13 gang with criminal history…”
But it’s a message that isn’t getting across to Americans. Why? It’s almost as if it’s being buried.
Take, for example, this basic Google search looking for a quote by President Trump about MS 13. Note that the top search results on Google are almost entirely attacking the president for his stance on MS 13.
It’s worth noting that the numbers of arrests above obviously don’t take into account those who slip through and don’t get caught. There’s no way of knowing how many violent MS-13 criminals disappeared into the U.S.
But there are signs the gang is even spreading into middle schools. Take this report last June, for example, about MS-13’s hold on a Maryland middle school:
“Gang-related fights are now a near-daily occurrence at Wirt, where a small group of suspected MS-13 members at the overwhelmingly Hispanic school in Prince George’s County throw gang signs, sell drugs, draw gang graffiti and aggressively recruit students recently arrived from Central America,” the report said.
Another report in 2017 talks about the spread of the violent group.
“As the gang has grown in strength in recent years, so has its sway over communities across the country. From Boston to Northern Virginia to Houston, a string of grisly MS-13 murders has highlighted its resurgence …”
According to ICE, the organization works through fear:
“Gang members routinely brutally assault and behead their victims to instill fear and compel compliance. In the United States, MS-13 preys upon Central American immigrant communities by extorting small businesses, peddling street level narcotics to those with substance abuse issues, aggressively recruiting the youngest and most vulnerable community members into the gang, and by inciting violence from rival gang members.”
And it’s a problem that’s just getting worse. In fiscal year 2018, HIS arrested 959 MS-13 members and associates, and ERO removed nearly 6,000 gang members, including 1,332 MS-13 members – a 24-percent increase from FY 2017.
Those arrests resulted in the confiscation of more than 820 firearms and 5,500 pounds of drugs, including heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana which would have otherwise ended up in U.S. neighborhoods and communities.