Attorney General Jeff Sessions is in El Salvador today working with the government there to combat the scourge of MS-13, one of the world's most violent gangs. During his visit, hundreds of members were charged with crimes. In total, the number tops 700.
According to the Justice Department, the arrests come after a joint meeting in March between Sessions and El Salvadorian Attorney General Donald Menendez in Washington D.C. and follows through on efforts to fulfill President Trump's executive order ridding the U.S. of MS-13.
The Department also announced announced ICE agents and prosecutors will continue to pursue gang members involved in violent crimes in the U.S. and El Salvador.
"Earlier this year, members of the MS-13’s Peajes Locos Salvatruchas Clique, occupying territory in the La Paz Department of the country, allegedly committed several high profile murders including the killings of three victims from the LGBT community who were believed to have committed extortions without authorization from MS-13. The alleged shooter in these high profile murders fled to the United States and is now in ICE custody pending immigration proceedings. ICE agents in El Salvador are coordinating with their counterparts in the United States to ensure that he is quickly removed and brought back to El Salvador to face charges," DOJ released Thursday.
"The investigation into this MS-13 clique is being handled by Salvadoran gang prosecutors who were trained and mentored by FBI and State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law advisors, Justice Department embedded Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (OPDAT) prosecutors, and police officers from the HIT Team. In addition, FBI and OPDAT teams worked with Salvadoran prosecutors to fund and arrange for essential witnesses to the murders to be transported to El Salvador for court proceedings," the statement continues.
DOJ has been successful in pursing a number of MS-13 cells in the U.S. since President Trump took office in January.