Attorney General Bill Barr’s Justice Department is making history.
According to Fox News, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday that it had handed down an indictment of terrorism against a member of MS-13, the first time a member of the gang has faced such charges.
Nearly two dozen other MS-13 leaders are also facing federal charges after what Fox described as a “nationwide crackdown on the group.”
Dubbed the Joint Task Force Vulcan, the DOJ described the operation in a press release as “an initiative launched in August 2019 aimed at disrupting, dismantling, and ultimately, destroying MS-13,” as Fox noted.
“In 2017, the President directed the Department of Justice to go to war against MS-13, and we did just that,” Attorney General Barr said in the statement. “In coordination with our partners at the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department’s law enforcement components have successfully investigated, charged, and arrested command and control elements of MS-13 responsible for murder.”
The attorney general went on to emphasize that “Joint Task Force Vulcan’s operations have significantly degraded MS-13 capabilities.”
“While there is still work to be done, the Department of Justice remains committed to protecting Americans threatened by MS-13, and we will not rest until we have successfully defeated this transnational criminal organization,” Barr concluded.
Seeking the death penalty
MS-13’s crimes have spanned the country, with cases being filed in Virginia, New York, Nevada, California, Texas, Massachusetts, Ohio, Utah, and the District of Columbia, Fox reported.
The alleged MS-13 figures charged include Alexi Saenz, who stands accused of committing seven murders, according to Fox. Two of his victims are said to have been high school students who were murdered with a machete and a baseball bat.
Saenz is among those who will be facing the death penalty for their crimes, something for which President Donald Trump has voiced his approval.
“We believe the monsters who murder children should be put to death,” the president said of the charges, according to Fox.
Trump has long warned of the threat posed by members of MS-13 and similar gangs, referring to them as “animals” at a White House event in 2018. Now, his attorney general is making sure justice is served.