Designation Targets Latin American Gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13)
The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated the Latin American gang
Mara Salvatrucha, known as MS-13, pursuant
to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, which targets significant transnational
criminal organizations (TCOs) and their supporters. MS-13 is being targeted for its involvement
in serious transnational criminal activities, including drug trafficking,
kidnapping, human smuggling, sex trafficking, murder, assassinations, racketeering,
blackmail, extortion, and immigration offenses.
action is the latest in a series of designations pursuant to E.O. 13581, which
is a key part of the National
Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime announced by
President Obama in July 2011. This
Strategy seeks to build and integrate a variety of tools to combat
transnational organized crime and related threats to national security. One of the key goals
of the President’s National Strategy is to attack the economic power of TCOs
and protect the integrity of international markets and the U.S. financial
system from TCO penetration and abuse.
13581 provides the authority to Treasury to target TCOs for economic sanctions
and initially included four TCOs in its annex:
the Brother’s Circle, the Camorra, the Zetas and Yakuza. Today’s designation of MS-13 is the first
addition of a new TCO to this E.O.
is an extremely violent and dangerous gang responsible for a multitude of
crimes that directly threaten the welfare and security of U.S. citizens, as
well as countries throughout Central America,” Treasury Under Secretary for
Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen stated. “This action positions us to target the
associates and financial networks supporting MS-13, and gives law enforcement an
additional tool in its efforts to disrupt MS-13’s activities.”
consists of at least 30,000 members in a range of countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras,
and is one of the most dangerous and rapidly expanding criminal gangs in the
world today. MS-13 is active within the
United States, with at least 8,000 members operating in more than 40 states and
the District of Columbia. MS-13’s criminal nature can be seen in one of its mottos,
“Mata, roba, viola, controla” (“Kill, steal, rape, control”). Domestically, the group is involved in
multiple crimes including murder, racketeering, drug trafficking, sex
trafficking and human trafficking including prostitution. The group frequently carries out violent
attacks on opposing gang members, often injuring innocent bystanders. MS-13 members have been responsible for
numerous killings within the United States.
MS-13 cliques take direction from the group’s foreign leadership for strategic
decisions involving moves into new territories and efforts to recruit new
members. Money generated by local MS-13
cliques in the U.S. is consolidated and funneled to the group’s leadership in
action was made possible in part due to the assistance and information provided
by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE). Since 2006, ICE’s Homeland
Security Investigations (HSI) division has arrested 4,078 S-13 gang members and partnering with the U.S.
Department of Justice, has successfully indicted numerous MS-13 racketeering
investigations in Washington, D.C., Virginia, New York, San Francisco, Houston
designation allows us to strike at the financial heart of MS-13 and is a
powerful weapon in our fight to dismantle one of the most violent,
transnational criminal organizations operating today," said ICE Director
John Morton. "History has proven
that we can successfully take down organized crime groups when we combine
sophisticated investigative techniques with tough street level enforcement,
cutting off cash flows, contraband and collaborators to ensure they no longer find
safe haven in our communities."
a result of today’s action, any
property or property interests in the United States, or in the possession or
control of U.S. persons in which MS-13 has an interest, are blocked, and U.S.
persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with MS-13.
Locations: El Salvador; Honduras; Guatemala; Mexico; United