During their meeting in San Salvador this morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions congratulated Attorney General Douglas Menéndez on their announcement that Salvadoran prosecutors today charged 113 MS-13 gang members in El Salvador. In addition, 593 gang members were charged yesterday, including many MS-13 members.
On February 9, 2017, President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Order on Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking to dismantle and eradicate transnational gangs threatening the safety of our communities. Pursuant to that order, Attorney General Sessions has made dismantling transnational gangs like MS-13 a priority. Today’s announcement comes as a result of the meeting the Attorneys General held in March of this year in Washington, D.C.
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.
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.