ICE rounds up more than 40 MS-13 members in NY

Criminal charges against the 214 gang-members include racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder in the furtherance of racketeering.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is an agency within the Department of Homeland Security.

Underscoring its promise earlier this year to crack down on a brutal gang, the Trump adminstration on Thursday announced the arrests of dozens of members of MS-13.

"This is a great operation, but we are not done, and we will not be done until we totally dismantle this organization", he said.

Thirty-eight individuals were arrested over the last month in Maryland and Northern Virginia as part of a national effort targeting members of the violent street gang MS-13, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.Three were arrested in Northern Virginia on immigration violations.

MS-13 was founded in Los Angeles in the 1980s in part to protect immigrants fleeing civil war in El Salvador and has since grown into a sprawling cross-border criminal organization.

The U.S. government has arrested 267 suspected MS-13 members since September. The second phase took place across the United States from October 8 through November 11. El Salvador police also arrested 53 gang members in El Salvador.

Among those arrested, 16 were citizens, while the other 198 were foreign nationals.

Operation Raging Bull – Nations of Origin chart – ICE
Operation Raging Bull – Nations of Origin chart – ICE

"These 267 arrests are the next step toward making this country safer by taking MS-13 off of our streets for good", Sessions said. About 60 of the arrests involved people illegally crossing the border as unaccompanied children, officials said.

In July, U.S. immigration agents launched raids on suspected gang members that for the first time included teenagers, reversing the practice of the previous administration.

MS-13 gang members are known for their tattooed bodies. The Justice Department said it's trying to do exactly that.

"We will not rest until every member, associate and leader of MS-13 has been held accountable for their crimes", said Thomas Horman, director of ICE.

"With more than 10,000 members across 40 states, MS-13 is one of the most risky criminal organizations in the United States today", U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. The investigation focused on the gang's Stoners Locos clique, which had generated $1.9 million in illicit revenue since 2015 through crimes such as extortion, robbery, vehicle theft, money laundering, assault, and homicide, according to ICE.

"MS-13 has always 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 global partners", Homan said.

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