As a result of efforts by US and Central American law enforcement, thousands of gang members were arrested across four countries. An operation was started in March after Attorney General Sessions met with law enforcement agencies from across the region to discuss transnational criminal activities. According to the Justice Department, the arrests were made in the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Law enforcers in these four countries studied the modus operandi of the criminal gangs, shared information amongst each other and dismantled their financial structure.

The gang's leadership and transnational ties were also targeted in the operation.

In an announcement through the department of justice, Attorney General Sessions stated that "MS-13 is one of the most violent gangs that endangers communities in more than 40 states". He also said that "MS-13 members kill, rape and traffic drugs and that the US Department of Justice will maintain its policies of dismantling the gang.”


The MS-13 gang originated in Los Angeles, California in the 1980's. The group was formed by Salvadorian immigrants to protect themselves from other more established gangs that were in L.A, according to the Washington Post.The gang has spread to Canada and Central America. Most of the members are from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

They are usually covered with tattoo markings with words such as "MS," "Salvatrucha," the "Devil Horns".

Last month, two members of the gang were charged with murdering 19-year-old Julio Cesar Gonzales-Espantzay after luring him into a forest on Long Island.

The two are alleged to have attacked Julio with machetes and stabbed him with knives. They were also responsible for 21 other murders in New York in the last two years, just to gain reputation, according to Nassau County police.

18th street gang

18Th Street Gang is a multi-ethnic street gang that began in Los Angeles in the 1960s'.

Most of its members are from South American countries like El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. The gang has a membership of between 30 t 50 thousand members in the United States according to a January report by Insight Crime. Crimes committed by members of the gang include drug trafficking, assault, robbery, money laundering, extortion, arms and human trafficking, theft, and murder. In recent months, 18th street gang members that were deported have been arrested trying to cross the US-Mexican border.