Late in July, the U.S. Department of Justice reported the arrest of nine gang members of the MS-13 criminal organization in Tennessee. Three of the MS-13 gang members are illegal aliens from El Salvador and Honduras. 

The defendants are charged with more than 60 counts, including murder, attempted murder, assault on law enforcement, illegal possession of weapons, illegal possession of drugs for commerce, and kidnapping.

A federal grand jury in Nashville, Tennessee, returned a 60-count indictment charging nine members of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), alleging that they had been acting under an organized crime conspiracy for more than seven years in the area.

The nine defendants are young men between the ages of 22 and 34, all born in Central America, and belonged to a branch of MS-13 operating since 2014 in Nashville, using murder and other crimes to protect their power and generate revenue. The funds generated were used to support gang leaders and members, including those incarcerated in the United States and El Salvador, the Justice Department report stated.

Specifically, the charges in the indictment include seven murders, a series of kidnappings, assaults, robberies, and large-scale drug distribution, according to statements from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Justice Department.

Several agencies linked to the fight against organized crime intervened for months in the investigation, which has resulted in several arrests in the United States, even more than the nine recently reported.

“This ongoing investigation has already led to multiple arrests and indictments of confirmed MS-13 gang members, including the nine charged in this most recent indictment,” said Jerry Templet, Jr, special agent in charge in Nashville, in a statement

As reported by the Department of Justice, gang members often attack people with violence, especially if they believe the victim is a rival or a witness to a crime they committed. They also noted that members are bound to retaliate swiftly and brutally against anyone who disrespects or threatens their authority, power, reputation, or control of a gang member.

“MS-13 is one of the most violent, ruthless and cold-blooded gangs to ever walk the face of the Earth,”  said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Mary Jane Stewart, according to Fox 17.

MS-13 is an international criminal organization of Central American origin, but in recent years it has managed to expand around the world, with large cells mainly in Europe and the United States.

With the new immigration policies of the Biden administration, human and drug trafficking has increased considerably in border areas, and MS-13 is one of the criminal organizations that has grown the most in the region, taking advantage of these spurious businesses.

There was a concrete policy of eradicating gangs within the United States and enhancing efforts to prevent their entry during the Trump administration. 

In fact, former President Trump signed an executive order in 2017 to direct the federal government to fight transnational criminal organizations, including MS-13. Attorney General Barr said in a statement at the time, “In 2017, the president directed the Department of Justice to go to war against MS-13, and that’s what we did.”

Official data indicates that the influx of illegal immigrants across the United States’ southern border is at a record high. There is no doubt that among those thousands of Central American citizens entering illegally and unchecked are members of these types of criminal organizations.

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