More than 3,800 face gang charges across 4 countries
More than 3,800 MS-13 and 18th Street gang members in the U.S. and Central America are facing criminal charges in the wake of a massive international effort dubbed Operation Regional Shield, which led to the indictment of a reputed East Coast leader, authorities said.
The nearly 4,000 people who will be arraigned on criminal charges stemming from the operation include 12 in Honduras, 70 in the U.S., 284 in Guatemala and more than 1,400 in El Salvador, attorneys general from the U.S., El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras announced yesterday while marking the six-month anniversary of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ commitment to combating transnational crime.
Among the Americans, who are facing charges in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and Virginia, is Edwin Manica Flores — known as “Sugar” — who was indicted in federal court in Boston for directing local “cliques” operating in MS-13’s “East Coast Program,” officials said.
Flores is the reputed leader of MS-13’s Everett Loco Salvatrucha clique and one of the gang’s regional leadership based in El Salvador. He is in jail in the Central American country and authorities expect to seek his extradition.
“MS-13 is one of the most violent and ruthless gangs in America today, endangering communities in more than 40 states. But under President Trump’s strong leadership, the Department of Justice is taking them off our streets,” Sessions said in a statement.
“Today, we are announcing that our partnership with law enforcement in Central America has yielded charges against more than 3,800 gang members just in the last six months. More than 70 of these defendants were living in the United States, from California to Ohio to Boston. MS-13 coordinates across our borders to kill, rape, and traffic drugs and underage girls; we’ve got to coordinate across our borders to stop them. That’s exactly what our courageous and professional DOJ agents and attorneys are doing.”
‘MS-13 coordinates across our borders to kill, rape, and traffic drugs and underage girls; we’ve got to coordinate across our borders to stop them.’ — JEFF SESSIONS U.S. attorney general
WORKING ACROSS BORDERS: Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco announced at a news conference yesterday that Operation Regional Shield has led to charges against thousands of MS-13 and 18th Street gang members across Central America and the United States.