News / USA

US Imposes Penalties on MS-13 Gang

In this Aug. 31, 2012 photo, alleged members of the MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha gang arrested on murder and gun possession charges are loaded into a police pick-up truck after being presented to the press in San Salvador, El Salvador. In this Aug. 31, 2012 photo, alleged members of the MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha gang arrested on murder and gun possession charges are loaded into a police pick-up truck after being presented to the press in San Salvador, El Salvador.
x
In this Aug. 31, 2012 photo, alleged members of the MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha gang arrested on murder and gun possession charges are loaded into a police pick-up truck after being presented to the press in San Salvador, El Salvador.
In this Aug. 31, 2012 photo, alleged members of the MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha gang arrested on murder and gun possession charges are loaded into a police pick-up truck after being presented to the press in San Salvador, El Salvador.
VOA News
The U.S. government has stepped up its crackdown on Mara Salvatrucha, a violent gang with roots in El Salvador that has been increasing its presence in the United States.

The Treasury Department announced Thursday it had branded the group as a transnational criminal organization, a designation that allows the government to block any assets the gang has in the United States and prohibit U.S. citizens from conducting business with the group.

Treasury officials say the gang, known as MS-13, has about 30,000 members, including 8,000 in the United States.  In addition to El Salvador, the group has a significant presence in Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.

In a statement, Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen said MS-13 has been linked to murders, racketeering, drug and human trafficking in the U.S., and that its violent attacks on rival gang members often injure innocent bystanders.

Marymount University criminal justice professor Cynthia O'Donnell has published research on MS-13.  She tells VOA the group is intentionally violent.  

"One of the reasons that they are violent has to do with what they are trying to accomplish, and that is simply the reputation for that," said O'Donnell. "They want to be known as the biggest, the baddest, the meanest.  And so they, of course, commit the acts that endorse that."  

The Treasury Department says MS-13 now operates in more than 40 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

O'Donnell says one reason the group has been able to get such a strong foothold in the U.S. is that it is so mobile.

"When the heat turns up in one area, so to speak, they move to another area," O'Donnell said.

The U.S. has taken similar action against other violent groups, including the Yakuza, a Japanese organized crime group, and the Mexico-based Zetas drug cartel.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid