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Justice Department Hits MS-13 Gang with 500 Convictions, Mostly of Illegal Aliens

'Joint Task Force Vulcan’s operations have significantly degraded MS-13 capabilities...'

The Justice Department has prosecuted nearly 750 MS-13 gang members, the majority of whom are also illegal aliens, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Of those, it secured 500 convictions, including 37 life sentences, noted Attorney General William Barr.

“In 2017, the President directed the Department of Justice to go to war against MS-13, and we did just that,” Barr said.

The Justice Department classifies MS-13 as a terrorist organization, giving federal law enforcement officials more options to prosecute the gang’s leaders.

MS-13 has gained power in the United States in large part due to open-border policies enacted under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Nearly 75 percent of the MS-13 gang members that the Justice Department has prosecuted were also illegal aliens.

Only 8 percent of gang members were US citizens, and another 3 percent were lawfully present based on special permit such as resident visas or asylum status.

The immigration status of the remaining gang members was not clear.

The Justice Department has worked with Mexico and Central American nations to fight the international spread of MS-13. As a result, foreign nations have extradited more than 50 gang members to the United States for prosecution.

“In coordination with our partners at the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department’s law enforcement components have successfully investigated, charged, and arrested command and control elements of MS-13 responsible for particularly heinous crimes against our communities,” Barr said.

In February 2017, shortly after his inauguration, Trump ordered the Justice Department, through Executive Order 13773.

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions created the Transnational Organized Crime Task Force on Oct. 15, 2018 to combat these international crime syndicates, including MS-13.

Barr then created the Joint Task Force Vulcan, a shared effort between the Justice Department, state Attorneys General, and foreign law-enforcement agencies, including those of El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.

“Joint Task Force Vulcan’s operations have significantly degraded MS-13 capabilities,” Barr said.

“While there is still work to be done, the Department of Justice remains steadfastly committed to protecting Americans from MS-13, and we will not rest until we have successfully eradicated this violent gang,” he added.

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