In Crackdown on MS-13, ICE Arrests Six in Montgomery County

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The arrests were made in recent weeks as part of a major anti-gang crackdown code-named Operation Raging Bull.

The sting was a collaboration between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Justice and led by federal, state and local enforcement.

While Operation Raging Bull is being heralded as a victory, there are still many risky MS-13 members that the government is still targeting.

The first phase of the operation involved unsafe members of the gang, and the initial arrests in El Salvador numbered 53, after a year and a half of investigation that concluded in September.

"President Trump has ordered the Department of Justice to reduce crime and take down transnational criminal organizations, and we will be relentless in our pursuit of these objectives", Sessions said in announcing the arrests.

Almost 300 members and associates of the infamous transnational drug gang MS-13 have been arrested in an interdepartmental collaboration called Operation: Raging Bull, leadership of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency announced Thursday.

MS-13 was founded in Los Angeles in the 1980s in part to protect immigrants fleeing civil war in El Salvador and has since grown into a sprawling cross-border criminal organization.

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"Of the 214 arrests made in the US, 93 were arrested on federal and/or state criminal charges", said ICE Homeland Security Investigations Deputy Executive Associate Director Derek Benner. More than 50 people were arrested in El Salvador during the first phase. "Sixteen of those arrested were USA citizens and 198 were foreign nationals, of which only five had legal status to be in the United States".

Significantly, Benner said, 64 of those arrested had crossed the border illegally in the wave of unaccompanied minors who have been streaming into the United States from Central America in large numbers since 2014.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions traveled to El Salvador in July on a mission to work with that country's government against MS-13. The second phase was conducted across the United States from October 8 to November 11 and concluded with 214 MS-13 arrests nationwide.

While the vast majority of those youths are not criminals, Kolb said, they are a fertile recruiting base for gangs like MS-13.

Homan, recently nominated by President Donald Trump to be the permanent ICE director, said at a news conference that his agency and other law enforcement authorities would continue to disrupt and dismantle MS-13, a violent Salvadoran gang whose full name is Mara Salvatrucha.

"Definitely some UACs end up being bad people and enter the country to do bad things", said Homan, who is serving as acting ICE director and was nominated on Tuesday by Trump to head the agency.

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