A transnational operation led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions yielded charges against more than 3,800 gang members from the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Sessions, along with law enforcement officials throughout Central America, announced that Operation Regional Shield resulted in charges against thousands of gang members from the violent El Salvadorian MS-13 and 18th Street gangs.
“MS-13 is one of the most violent and ruthless gangs in America today, endangering communities in more than 40 states,” Sessions said. “But under President Trump’s strong leadership, the Department of Justice is taking them off our streets.”
“Today, we are announcing that our partnership with law enforcement in Central America, has yielded charges against more than 3,800 gang members just in the last six months,” Sessions continued. “More than 70 of these defendants were living in the United States, from California to Ohio to Boston.”
“MS-13 coordinates across our borders to kill, rape and traffic drugs and underage girls; we’ve got to coordinate across our borders to stop them,” Session said. “That’s exactly what our courageous and professional DOJ agents and attorneys are doing. We will continue to maintain this steadfast policy and dismantle this gang.”
In March, Sessions promised to take on violent cartels and street gangs, traveling to Long Island, New York and southern California to warn MS-13 of the Department of Justice (DOJ) action that would be taken against them and their leaders.
The 3,800 gang members charged included:
More than 70 gang members living in the U.S., residing in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Virginia;
248 gang members living in Guatemala, with six firearms seized;
14 businesses and 11 luxury vehicles seized;
12 money laundering MS-13 gang members; and
More than 1,400 gang members living in El Salvador.
Two specific cases in the operation were outlined by the DOJ:
One indictment unsealed yesterday in the District of Massachusetts charges Edwin Manica Flores aka Sugar, Chugar and Shugar, an MS-13 leader incarcerated for murder in El Salvador, with a RICO conspiracy for alleged criminal activity he directed in the United States as the leader of MS-13’s “East Coast Program.”
Charges filed in Long Island on July 19 against 17 MS-13 members for 12 murders, including the April 11 quadruple murder of four men in Central Islip; racketeering; attempted murders; assaults; obstruction of justice; arson; conspiracy to distribute marijuana; and firearms.
In February, President Trump issued the Enforcement Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking Executive Order to help crackdown on transnational gangs like MS-13.
Since signing that executive order, Sessions created a transnational network of law enforcement agencies to dismantle violent criminal cartels and gangs in the U.S. and Central America.