WASHINGTON - There is a major crackdown on gang activity around the country and it is all thanks to Operation Raging Bull. It has led to more than 200 MS-13 arrests nationwide.
The sting was a collaboration between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Justice and led by federal, state and local enforcement.
ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan reiterated that combating MS-13 is a priority and Thursday’s announcement is the culmination of a two-phase, 18-month investigation.
“This successful operation continues our efforts to attack MS-13 – both domestically and abroad – disrupting their financial networks,” said Homan. “MS-13 terrorizes communities through violent crime and extortion in furtherance of its mission to rape, control and kill."
He added, “This is a great operation, but we are not done and we will not be done until we totally dismantle this organization.”
The goal of the operation was to disrupt the gang's global financial network. In Baltimore, four MS-13 members were arrested and indicted on charges including violent crimes in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering.
MS-13 is described as one of the most dangerous criminal organization in the country and the D.C. area is no exception.
In September, ICE announced the first phase of Operation Raging Bull, which led to 53 arrests in El Salvador. The second phase took place across the United States from October 8 through November 11.
“Of the 214 arrests made in the U.S., 93 were arrested on federal and/or state criminal charges,” said ICE Homeland Security Investigations Deputy Executive Associate Director Derek Benner. “The remaining 121 were arrested on administrative immigration violations. Sixteen of those arrested were U.S. citizens and 198 were foreign nationals, of which only five had legal status to be in the United States.”
Individuals are reportedly confirmed gang members if they admit gang membership among other guidelines, many which are hard to prove.
Operation Raging Bull is the latest example of ICE's plan to target violent gang members and their associates.