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Thread: Trump Takes Aim at MS-13 Gangs

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    Default Trump Takes Aim at MS-13 Gangs

    AG Jeff Sessions cites MS-13 on LI in announcing gang crackdown

    Updated
    By Emily Ngo emily.ngo@newsday.com
    Reprints + -


    Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks about crime to local, state and federal law enforcement officials in St. Louis in this March 31, 2017 photo. Photo Credit: AP


    WASHINGTON — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday cited last week’s quadruple homicide in Central Islip as he vowed a federal crackdown on MS-13 and issued a warning to members of the violent street gang: “We will find you.”

    President Donald Trump on Tuesday also touted efforts to combat MS-13 but blamed his predecessor for its spread nationwide.
    “The weak illegal immigration policies of the Obama Admin. allowed bad MS 13 gangs to form in cities across U.S.,” he tweeted. “We are removing them fast!”
    StoryDozens remember 4 murder victims at vigilPhotosQuadruple homicide in LI parkPhotosTrump tweets on Chinese currency, North Korea

    Though Trump did not directly mention the Long Island slayings, his attorney general listed them as among the most recent acts of violence perpetrated by MS-13, now a key target for the Department of Justice.

    “Just a few days ago, law enforcement believes that members of MS-13 murdered four young men and dumped their bodies in a park in Long Island,” Sessions said at a Washington, D.C., meeting on transnational organized crime.

    “We will secure our border, expand immigration enforcement and choke off supply lines,” he said. “If you are a gang member, we will find you. . . . We will not concede a single block or street corner to your vicious tactics.”
    Sessions did not announce specific steps in his remarks, but criticized so-called sanctuary cities whose officials may not heed all federal immigration orders.

    Sessions had hosted FBI Director James Comey and federal law enforcement officials to generate “concrete ideas” following Trump’s Feb. 9 executive order to focus resources on fighting gangs and cartels and prevent international trafficking.

    CrimeQuadruple homicide in LI park



    Local authorities believe MS-13 is responsible for the killings of four young men whose bodies were discovered last Wednesday in a Central Islip park.
    @Newsday
    Tweets from @Newsday/newsday-staff

    “We are in the midst of a war,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini declared last Thursday.

    Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) in an interview said Suffolk and FBI officials have assured him they are doing all they can in the Central Islip case.

    He said of residents, “It should be encouraging for them to realize that Washington is aware of what’s happening.”

    Though Trump faulted Obama, information provided by the Department of Justice cited progress made in 2009 and 2010 in disrupting MS-13 operations in target areas through the combined efforts of federal, state and local officials.
    AG Sessions is doing a fantastic job: announced today new steps to dismantle violent gangs like MS-13. I promised to get tough and we are!
    — President Trump (@POTUS) April 18, 2017

    MS-13 is composed primarily of immigrants or descendants of immigrants from El Salvador and the street gang has been in the United States since at least the 1980s, originating in Los Angeles, according to the Department of Justice.

    In a “Fox & Friends” interview that aired Tuesday, Trump said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is removing those who are in the country illegally and pose a safety threat.

    “I’m talking about illegal immigrants that were here that caused tremendous crime that have murdered people, raped people; horrible things have happened,” the president said. “They are getting the hell out, or they are going to prison.”

    A tweet later Tuesday from the official account of the president did not mention Obama and instead lauded Sessions’ leadership in working to dismantle transnational gangs.

    “I promised to get tough and we are!” it read.

    A White House spokesman, asked to elaborate on Trump’s tweet about Obama, said the president was referencing his own executive order.

    Trump was described in a Time magazine profile in December showing the Time reporter an edition of Newsday with a front page on deadly MS-13 violence in Brentwood.

    “They come from Central America. They’re tougher than any people you’ve ever met,” he had said.


    Sessions Cites Central Islip Quadruple Murder in Touting MS-13 Crackdown

    By
    Timothy Bolger -



    U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions cited last week’s quadruple murder on Long Island while touting a renewed federal crackdown on the violent street gang investigators suspect was responsible: MS-13.

    Sessions briefly discussed how he plans to take down the four-decade-old street gang headquartered in El Salvador while speaking Tuesday to the Organized Crime Council, which includes leaders of various federal law enforcement agencies targeting syndicates such as the mafia and international drug cartels.

    “Just a few days ago, law enforcement believes that members of MS-13 murdered four young men and dumped their bodies in a park on Long Island,” Sessions said while mentioning the case first in a list of recent high-profile violent crimes the gang is suspected of committing.

    Suffolk County police have said they believed the four victims—three teenagers and a 20-year-old man—were killed where they were found, in a wooded area near the Central Islip Recreation Center, and not dumped there after being killed elsewhere.

    The AG blamed “years of lax immigration enforcement” for the gang’s membership increasing to 10,000 in the US. He also blamed so-called sanctuary cities—municipalities that don’t comply with federal authorities requests to turn over for deportation criminal defendants that are undocumented immigrants.

    “We will secure our border, expand immigration enforcement and choke-off supply lines,” Sessions said. “If you are a gang member: We will find you.

    “We will devastate your networks,” he continued. “We will starve your revenue sources, deplete your ranks and seize your profits. We will not concede a single block or street corner to your vicious tactics.”

    Sessions’ remarks came hours after President Donald Trump tweeted about MS-13, although Trump didn’t mention LI specifically.
    “The weak illegal immigration policies of the Obama Admin. allowed bad MS 13 gangs to form in cities across U.S.,” Trump tweeted. “We are removing them fast!”

    MS-13 was formed in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, now has more than 30,000 members worldwide, according to the Department of Justice.
    It also came on the same day that Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco held a community forum on gangs.

    “This problem is national in scope, but Long Island has been particularly impacted by gang activity,” DSeMarco said. “All too often people want to pretend this isn’t happening in their neighborhoods, but gangs are everywhere. We need to educate people who are in community about what to look for, and inform them about what to do if they see gang members recruiting outside their premises.”

    Sessions, who called gangs such as MS-13 “one of the gravest threats to American safety,” signaled that additional law enforcement strategies targeting organized crime are in the works.

    “Today is just the beginning,” he said. “There will be much more in the coming weeks and months as we seek to eradicate these transnational criminal organizations. Under the Trump Administration and this Department of Justice, there will be no safe quarter for gangs and those that support them.”

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    Default Re: Trump Takes Aim at MS-13 Gangs

    What Do MS13 Gang Members Think About Trump?

    Written by Carlos García*

    El Salvador MS13


    MS13 gang members

    US President Donald Trump has said he will "finish" the MS13, whose members he has described as "murderers and rapists." InSight Crime asked some gang members to respond.

    The Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) was born in the early 1980s in Los Angeles, California. Due to a change in deportation policies, which were carried out during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, the gang expanded in Central America's Northern Triangle countries -- Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador -- until it became one of the deadliest gangs in the region. It is currently considered by some to be the most violent in the world.

    The gang members who avoided deportation managed to expand across the United States to become "one of the largest, best organized street gangs in the United States and one notorious for its violence," according to US Congressional testimony. In the first decade of the 2000s, laws against organized crime and illicit associations, including the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering Enterprise statute (VICAR), targeted the MS13 for a wide variety of crimes.

    US authorities' fight against the MS13 stiffened further in 2005 with Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Operation Community Shield, which ran until October 2012, when the Treasury Department designated the MS13 as "a transnational criminal organization," sanctioning nine of its members.

    Now with the arrival of Donald Trump as the new president of the United States, the gang is more active and alive than ever. And the president knows this.

    Shortly before Trump took office, he gave an interview to Time magazine. During the conversation with reporter Michael Scherer, the then-president-elect pulled out a copy of Newsday and highlighted what the headline said, "'EXTREMELY VIOLENT' GANG FACTION."

    Trump then said, "They come from Central America. They're tougher than any people you've ever met ... They're killing and raping everybody out there. They're illegal. And they are finished."

    Trump was alluding to the scope of the MS13 in New York, at the same time as he maintained that the MS13 "would end." For the time being, the new administration has opted, among other things, for indiscriminate mass deportations in an attempt to target the MS13.

    However, the question remains, will deportations succeed in ending the MS13's presence in the United States?

    InSight Crime asked five MS13 gang members about their stance on President Trump and the actions he intends to take against them.

    Their responses reflect the awareness and reach these members have in their own gang. They claim not to be as deadly as they are described, but insist that no political administration can extinguish them.

    This is what they had to say.

    'Tramposo'

    Retired Guatemalan gang member who lives in California.

    What do you think of Donald Trump?

    Well, politics is like shit: It stinks, but we have to shit. So, there is no going back against the guy. He's here and he's going to do what makes his balls swell. And honestly, that guy does not think he will be reelected. And there's nothing we can do to change politics. As the saying goes, 'If it rains lemons, learn to make lemonade.'

    Do you think his presence will affect the MS13?

    He's just like the others who use us for cheap propaganda. Like every president in the world. They always look to the weakest to make propaganda. The MS13 will always be the scapegoat of all the ruling parties. So, there's not much to hope for, unless we are the meat for politicians.

    Do you think the MS13 would take any action if he starts deporting a lot of 'homies'?

    No. The gang is not at that level of crime to target the president of a global power like the United States. We are a street gang, not terrorists.

    Can Donald Trump dismantle the MS13 as he has proposed?

    Of course, we can't go against the government here, because if that guy sends the Marines to look for us, they will end us very quickly. And if they want to send us out, they will hunt us down and we will leave as easy as that. If we can't deal with the governments of our own countries, now think how it works in this country.

    'Catracha'

    Semi-retired, non-active Honduran gang member, resident of California.

    What do you think of Donald Trump?

    That he's a son of a bitch. That he's going to shit on [us] and is shitting on the laws. He's going to f*ck poor people like me.

    Do you think his presence will affect the MS13?

    Yes. With more deportations, tougher laws. He's going to want to change the law that just came into effect where many homies who are making a living [in jail] are going to leave.

    Do you think the MS13 would take any action if he starts deporting a lot of 'homies'?

    Maybe, but the gang isn't like it used to be. Things were tougher before, but not anymore.

    Can Donald Trump dismantle the MS13 as he has proposed?

    Never. He doesn't even know what he's talking about.

    'Mafioso"

    US-based gangster of Salvadoran origin, active and imprisoned in Calipatria State Prison

    What do you think of Donald Trump?

    He's an asshole, a racist f*cker.

    Do you think his presence will affect the MS13?

    Yes, that f*cker has already caused some shit for the gang. The federal authorities [FBI, ICE, DEA, ATF] do not mess around here.

    Do you think the MS13 would take any action if he starts deporting a lot of 'homies'?

    They wouldn't do anything because they know that this is not El Salvador. In a month they would dismantle the gang and those who are going to leave, [the ones] who have lost the most, are the ones down there [in El Salvador], and the leaders [of the Mexican Mafia -- the MS13 task masters in the United States -- or the MS13] will not allow that.

    Can Donald Trump dismantle the MS13 as he has proposed?

    The truth is yes, because we have to be realistic. The MS13 is not going to let us go to war with the government because they are going to lose too much.

    'Spider'

    Active Salvadoran gangster imprisoned in California.

    What do you think of Donald Trump?

    The truth is he's a son of a bitch. But if you put your mind to something you will achieve it. He will lead the country, and if the people see a positive change, they will start to accept him. But if it goes to shit, they will hate it. For me, he's still a son of a bitch. But honestly, I am one too, and I like how he doesn't give a shit about anything.

    Do you think his presence will affect the MS13?

    The guy is a bastard, but it is going to affect us. My best wishes for him, because he is lacking any character.

    Do you think the MS13 would take any action if he starts deporting a lot of 'homies'?

    Well, it is going to affect us. They are going to bring down deportations, but when we get back we will be worse, more organized. The next generation of the MS13 will be our children. Americans with our fury and our resentment in their blood.

    Can Donald Trump dismantle the MS13 as he has proposed?

    The future cannot be deported by Trump. [Referring to gang members born in the United States.] How will you deport them? You are going to have to fight "The Beast"* first.

    *The Beast is a nickname for a freight train line used by many Central American migrants to travel through Mexico toward the United States.

    'Necio'

    Active Salvadoran gang member, deported to Tijuana a year ago.

    What do you think of Donald Trump?

    F*ck him! He's just a front. That dude will not last.

    Do you think his presence will affect the MS13?

    Yes. Of course he's going to want to exterminate us, but that's nothing new. He doesn't like us.

    Do you think the MS13 would take any action if he starts deporting many 'homies'?

    I don't think so, because the federal government is letting us in. That's a lot of it, because they didn't do anything in the '90s [during the first mass deportation of the MS13 to El Salvador] and [the migration is] less nowadays. There are too many fights down there [in El Salvador] to stop this. I don't think they will do anything, but if somebody does ... f*ck, it's gonna be bad.

    Can Donald Trump dismantle with the MS13 as he has proposed?

    Maybe, because the feds are already bringing us in.

    *Carlos García is a journalist and researcher specializing in gang issues. He has interviewed members of the MS13 in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and the United States, and is writing a book about that group. This article does not necessarily represent the views of InSight Crime.

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    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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