The FBI Just Busted an MS-13 Ring in Ohio

Maureen Collins | August 17, 2017
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Members of the notorious MS-13 gang have been arrested in Columbus, Ohio

Thirteen members of the El Salvador-based gang were apprehended in Ohio and Indiana during an FBI-led multi-agency investigation that included U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), and local officials.

On July 27, a federal grand jury charged the members with conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence. Though 13 members of the MS-13 ring have been caught, two remain at large. 

"This is bad news," said the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Ohio Benjamin Glassman, "that MS-13 has been in Columbus, Ohio. The good news is what we're doing today, taking the first dismantling this group in the Columbus area."

The federal government has designated MS-13 a "transitional criminal organization." Attorney General Jeff Sessions went to El Salvador last month to work with local officials on curtailing the gang's presence on the U.S. border. Sessions remarked that

"With more than 10,000 members across 40 states, MS-13 is one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the U.S. today. MS-13 members have killed children and pregnant women, extorted immigrant-owned business, and trafficked underage girls to sell them for sex. President Trump has ordered the Department of Justice to reduce crime and take down transitional criminal organizations, and we will be relentless in our pursuit of these objectives." 

The gang MS-13 began in Los Angeles in the 1980's among El Salvadorian immigrants and expanded into El Salvador itself among deported members during the country's civil war. It has now expanded across Central America and has become prevalent along the U.S. border and in many of the nation's major cities.

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