In the U.S. it’s involved in murder, drug trafficking, sex trafficking and human trafficking. The gang is active in the U.S., with at least 8,000 members operating in more than 40 states and Washington, D.C.
An inmate belonging to the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang stands inside the prison in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador.
MS-13 is being targeted for its involvement in drug trafficking, kidnapping, human smuggling, sex trafficking, murder, assassinations, racketeering, blackmail, extortion and immigration offenses, Treasury said. As a result of the designation, Americans are banned from transacting with MS-13, and any property the group has in the U.S. is blocked.
The U.S. Treasury Department said Thursday it placed Mara Salvatrucha, known as MS-13, under sanctions that target transnational criminal organizations.
By Samuel Rubenfeld
October 11, 2012, 11:12 AM
“MS-13 is an extremely violent and dangerous gang responsible for a multitude of crimes that directly threaten the welfare and security of U.S. citizens, as well as countries throughout Central America,” said David Cohen, undersecretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a statement.
“This action positions us to target the associates and financial networks supporting MS-13, and gives law enforcement an additional tool in its efforts to disrupt MS-13’s activities,” he said.
MS-13 consists of at least 30,000 members in a range of countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, and it’s one of the most dangerous and rapidly expanding gangs in the world, Treasury said. Members are often recognized by their tattoos.
The gang is active in the U.S., with at least 8,000 members operating in more than 40 states and Washington, D.C. In the U.S., it’s involved in an assortment of crime, including murder, drug trafficking, sex trafficking and human trafficking, Treasury said.
It frequently carries out violent attacks on rival gang members, and members have been responsible for numerous killings within the U.S., Treasury said.
Local cliques take direction from the group’s foreign leadership, Treasury said, and money generated by the local cliques is consolidated and funneled to the leadership in El Salvador.
Since 2006, Treasury said Immigration and Customs Enforcement has arrested more than 4,000 MS-13 members, and the Justice Department has handed up indictments in many MS-13 racketeering cases in Washington, D.C., Virginia, New York, San Francisco, Houston and Atlanta.
“History has proven that we can successfully take down organized crime groups when we combine sophisticated investigative techniques with tough street-level enforcement, cutting off cash flows, contraband and collaborators to ensure they no longer find safe haven in our communities,” said John Morton, director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in the statement.