Attorney General Jeff Sessions officially designated the MS-13 gang as a priority threat Monday, allowing Department of Justice task forces to use every available law to bring down the international organization.
The new designation allows Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces to dismantle MS-13 using tax laws, drug laws, gun laws, and “anything else that will cripple the gang.” Sessions announced the change during a Monday speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, saying the new tools will go a long way in helping destroy the multinational gang.
“Now they will go after MS-13 with a renewed vigor and a sharpened focus,” Sessions said. “Just like we took Al Capone off the streets with our tax laws, we will use whatever laws we have to get MS-13 off of our streets.”
This comes as the most recent effort in a string of DOJ policies aimed at destroying MS-13. The DOJ announced Oct. 3 that nearly 3,800 gang members had been charged in an international operation involving law enforcement groups from the U.S., El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Within the U.S., Sessions has targeted sanctuary cities for helping the gang’s drug operations, calling the cities “sanctuaries for criminals.” His department is also supporting Texas in its effort to ban sanctuary cities. The state passed legislation to do so this spring, but is now facing lawsuits from several of its own cities.
With more than 40,000 members worldwide—including 10,000 in the United States—MS-13 threatens the lives and wellbeing of families, as its members brutally rape, rob, extort, and murder. Guided by their motto—‘kill, rape, and control’—they leave misery, devastation, and death in their wake,” Sessions said Monday. “But at the U.S. Department of Justice, we have a motto, too: Justice for victims and consequences for criminals. This is our motto and that is our mission.”
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