Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 18-month investigation into Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) ended last week with the arrests of 53 members and associates during the enforcement phase of the investigation known as Operation Tecana.
In addition to the arrests, more than $81,000 was seized along with 201 cell phones, 70 cars/trucks, 20 computers, 8 firearms, 5 residences, 2 buses, and 4 industrial trucks. Thirty eight businesses were also closed.
Caso Pilato and Operation Tecana are the latest example of ICE’s ongoing efforts, begun in 2005 under Operation Community Shield, to target violent gang members and their associates, eradicate the violence they inflict upon our communities and stop the cash flow to transnational organized crime groups. Since 2005, HSI special agents working in conjunction with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have made more than 57,000 gang-related arrests.
Operation Community Shield is a global initiative in which HSI collaborates with federal, state and local law enforcement partners to combat the growth and proliferation of transnational criminal street gangs, prison gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs in the United States and abroad. Through its domestic and international Operation Community Shield task forces, HSI leverages its worldwide presence and expansive statutory and civil enforcement authorities to mitigate the threats posted by these global networks, often through the tracing and seizing of cash, weapons and other illicit proceeds. (ICE)
“ICE has already sent a clear message to MS-13: you are not welcome in the United States and you will find no harbor here,” ICE Acting Director Thomas D. Homan said in a statement. “These arrests, in coordination with our Salvadoran counterparts, show that they will find no harbor in El Salvador either. Working together with our international law enforcement partners, we will continue to dismantle MS-13 piece by piece wherever they attempt to victimize innocent communities.”