Brian Truchon at El Salvador conference (Photo: WorldNetDaily)
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Cliques of the ultra-violent Latin American MS-13 gang have been identified in 42 U.S. states, according to the director of an FBI task force, speaking at a conference here.
Another violent group, the 18th Street Gang, is in 37 states, said Brian Truchon, director of the FBI MS-13 National Gang Task Force, or NGTF.
As WND reported, Truchon spoke at the Third Gang Enforcement Conference 2007 conference, which is focusing on MS-13.
“One thing we figured out with the on-going cases was that Los Angeles is our starting point,” Truchon stressed. “When the gang migrates throughout the U.S., there is always a road back to L.A. From L.A., there is always a road back to Central America.”
The FBI has identified 13 core cities for MS-13 in the U.S.: Los Angeles, Washington, Baltimore, New York, Houston, Charlotte, Sacramento, Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Omaha, Newark and Boston.
Currently, the FBI has in excess of 110 MS-13 investigations in 40 different FBI field offices. For the 18th Street Gang, the FBI has more than 20 on-going investigations in 15 FBI field offices.
The FBI has found foreign connectivity from MS-13 and the 18th Street Gang back to El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.
“One piece of information a particular FBI field office develops may fit into an international puzzle,” Truchon emphasized. “The information might actually help us with a case we are developing in an entirely different city.”
Truchon said individuals in gang cliques in the U.S. often are influenced by gang members in Latin America, even from within the prisons.
“Gang members in a prison in El Salvador are able to reach out from prison and kill gang members in L.A.,” he said.
Truchon reported that deported members from Hollywood Locos Clique incarcerated in Ciudad Barrios Prison, El Salvador, were found to be able to impact MS-13 gang members in Virginia. Sailors Clique MS-13 gang members imprisoned in Quezaltepeque, La Libertad, El Salvador, were also found to exert an impact on gang members in Virginia.
“We find a great deal of movement and communication between gang members in the U.S. and their counterparts in Mexico and El Salvador,” Truchon said.
The FBI has NGTF has instituted a criminal file/fingerprint retrieval initiative known as the Central American Fingerprint Exploitation (CAF?). The CAF? initiative has been developed to retrieve the criminal fingerprints from the countries of El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras.
FBI currently has 3 million criminal fingerprints from Central America and Mexico. Preliminary results on test batch of first 180,000 prints show over 3,800 hits (11.75 percent) on existing records 86 hits to active wants. Offenses include murder, armed robbery, sexual assault, burglary, numerous drug related charges, and immigration violations.
The FBI’s MS-13 task force also has entered a Transnational Anti-Gang Program to place FBI agents permanently in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico, to investigate and counter trans-border gang activity.
“We are making progress in understanding the international connectivity and flow of people and information between MS-13 and 18th Street in the U.S.,” Truchon told the conference. “We are going to pursue joint proactive investigations with Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. We will apply the analytic efforts of the National Gang Intelligence Center to the effort.”
Truchon said that in the FBI’s efforts to disrupt and destroy gangs like MS-13 and 18th Street, it has to “reach across jurisdictions, not only from the federal NGTF at the FBI, but now across to law enforcement officers in Mexico and Central America.”
Joe Trias, a program manager overseeing gang investigations at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, headquarters, told the conference Operation Community Shield has arrested some 1,362 MS-13 members or associates since the program was initiated in February 2005. Of these, 343 were arrested criminally. Some 637 of the arrestees were found to have had criminal histories.
El Salvador was by far the leading country of origin for some 754 of the arrestees, followed by Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.
“We believe that MS-13 controls the smuggling corridors along the Mexican border, for both drugs and weapons,” Trias told the conference.
“MS 13 is not going away,” Trias said. “We are seeing second generation MS-13 members and MS-13 recruitment is increasing. We also see signs of a more formal criminal structure developing within MS-13, both in the United States and in Central America.”
WND staff writer Jerome Corsi is in El Salvador attending the Third Gang Enforcement Conference for WND, at the invitation of the FBI’s MS-13 Task Force.
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