The operation led to a total of 267 arrests of MS-13 members and associates.
US law enforcement officials announced on Thursday the arrest of 267 members of MS-13, a violent gang the Trump administration has vowed to get off America's streets. And of that group, only five were living legally in the United States.
"This successful operation continues our efforts to attack MS-13 - domestically and overseas - disrupting their financial networks", he continued, adding that MS-13 is involved in a wide range of "criminal activities" including human trafficking, murder and prostitution.
In September, the U.S. Justice Department and authorities from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras announced criminal charges against more than 3,800 members of the two gangs, 70 of them in six U.S. states. Sixty-four of those crossed the border illegally as unaccompanied alien children, noted Derek Brenner, the acting executive associate director of HSI.
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O'Neill also said he would not hear new cases but will decide on the ones presented before he announced his candidacy. The post drew an nearly instantaneous backlash and prompted O'Neill's campaign manager to resign.
In February, Trump directed the Justice Department to redouble its efforts to root out MS-13 and other transnational criminal organizations.
Border Patrol Deputy Chief Scott Luck said his agents in the Rio Grande Valley Border Sector in Texas worked with the El Salvadoran joint border intelligence crew to detect, identify and collect information for confirmed MS-13 gang members within the United States.
"These 267 arrests are the next step toward making this country safer by taking MS-13 off of our streets for good", Sessions said.
"However, we are now combating the gang with renewed focus and an unprecedented level of cooperation among DHS's components, and our domestic and worldwide partners", Homan said.
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"The violence they perpetrate is shocking and shows no remorse, even a basic respect for human life", he said. "The President of the United States has made this a priority and ICE joins him in this".
Homan said the gang traffics in drugs, extortion and violence.
But Molina's team was still able to make the arrest based on the suspect's immigration status - part of the unique mandate of the Homeland Security investigations unit of ICE.
"With more than 10,000 members across 40 states, MS-13 is one of the most risky criminal organizations in the United States today", U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
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David Rybicki, deputy assistant attorney general, spoke of eight MS-13 members indicted in Maryland on federal charges of conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, conspiracy to commit murder, and drug offenses. Gang members from MS-13 have been implicated in several high-profile homicides around the United States.