As part of an intense focus on national security, one of President Donald Trump’s top priorities has been combatting transnational criminal organizations like MS-13. And it’s official: the president just got another win in that regard.
According to Breitbart, a new report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicates that since President Trump took office in 2017, more than 600 members of MS-13 have been arrested — and nearly 400 convicted — as part of a targeted effort to systematically dismantle the dangerous street gang.
The DOJ’s report also noted that roughly three-quarters of the gang members arrested were residing in the United States illegally, as Breitbart reported. Fewer than 10% were confirmed U.S. citizens, while 3% were immigrants in the country legally.
Trump goes to war with MS-13
According to Breitbart, President Trump issued an executive order in 2017 that directed the Justice Department and other relevant federal law enforcement agencies to take on MS-13 specifically, among other transnational criminal organizations.
By mid-2019, Attorney General Bill Barr had established a special task force dedicated to that very purpose, one that combined the resources of various federal agencies and worked in cooperation with the governments of Central American nations like El Salvador — where the gang originated — as well as Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, among others.
And it seems their efforts paid off.
According to the DOJ report, at least 749 MS-13 members have faced criminal charges since 2016, before President Trump took office. Of those, at least 504 have been convicted.
Those convictions cover a wide assortment of federal crimes, from assaults and racketeering conspiracies to drug crimes and murders to robberies and trafficking offenses.
Progress overseas and at home
Sentencing for the gang members also varied widely, with a substantial portion of those convicted facing only a year or two behind bars. Thirty-seven of them will be imprisoned for life, as Breitbart notes, and two are currently facing the possibility of capital punishment.
The DOJ’s report also indicated that the Justice Department and its task forces have made a concerted effort to target the known leaders of MS-13 and its many affiliated “cliques,” both here in the United States as well as in Central and South America.
Of particular note were the international partnerships that were forged by way of that process; the various U.S. federal agencies reportedly worked in close cooperation with local governments and law enforcement agencies, where appropriate and vetted, and provided them with valuable resources like manpower, intelligence, and updated technologies.
It’s all good news for Americans who are concerned about keeping their streets safe. Looks like this is yet another promise kept by President Trump.