World’s Most Dangerous Street Gang Now Has a Presence in Australia

By James Burke

Transnational street gang MS-13 has a presence in Australia, say U.S. authorities who this week indicted 17 alleged members of the gang.

New York’s Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said that a seven-month long investigation into the violent drug gang has further exposed its international reach.

“This massive multi-agency investigation laid bare the global size, complexity, and brutality of MS-13, and these indictments strike a heavy blow to the gang’s operations on Long Island,” Singas said in a statement put out by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Based on the evidence acquired during the investigation, MS-13 has affiliates operating around the world in places such as Mexico, Colombia, South Korea, France, Australia, Peru, Egypt, Ecuador and Cuba.

“We were surprised to see some of those countries,” she said, reported SBS.

“The investigation definitely revealed MS-13 has expanded its reach internationally.”

Considered the world’s most dangerous street gang, MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha 13) originated in the 1980s in Los Angeles. Most of its members are of Central American ethnicity, principally from El Salvador.

It is believed to have a presence in 40 US states and have 10,000 members.

Singas said 17 alleged members and associates of MS-13 have been indicted by a grand jury on various charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and drug trafficking.

“These alleged gang members have terrorized vulnerable immigrant communities, trafficked deadly heroin into our neighborhoods, and this coalition of more than 22 agencies nationwide will continue to be unrelenting in our efforts to dismantle MS-13,” said Singas.

William F. Sweeney, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI New York Field Office said that the case is part of a bigger and extremely important multi-agency push to rid Long Island of MS-13, where the gang has been behind the killing of nearly 30 people.

“MS-13 members kill for no reason, but we are not going to let it continue,” said Sweeney.

The DEA said that the case began as a narcotic trafficking investigation. During the probe the MS-13 gang’s proclivity for violence was quickly realized, and the investigation adapted accordingly, it said. The DEA added that heroin and cocaine trafficking were profitable to the gang and necessary for their existence.

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