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DOJ charges 'highest-ranking' MS-13 leaders with terrorism

department of justice DOJ
Posted at 2:23 PM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 14:27:11-05

The Department of Justice has filed terrorism charges against 14 men they say are the “world’s highest-ranking MS-13 leaders” who allegedly directed the violent international gang.

The men functioned like a “board of directors” according to prosecutors, and are known as the Ranfla Nacional. They range in age from 40 to 56 years old. Prosecutors allege they directed members of the gang in the U.S. to commit acts of violence, including murder.

Eleven of the men are in custody currently in El Salvador and U.S. officials are exploring extradition options. Three of the named defendants are not in custody at this time.

“In approximately 2002, the defendants and other MS-13 leaders began establishing a highly organized, hierarchical command and control structure as a means to effectuate their decisions and enforce their orders, even while in prison. They directed acts of violence and murder in El Salvador, the United States, and elsewhere, established military-style training camps for its members and obtained military weapons such as rifles, handguns, grenades, improvised explosive devices (IED) and rocket launchers,” a statement from prosecutors reads.

The Justice Department alleges the men controlled territory and “engaged in public relations” on behalf of the MS-13 gang.

In addition to violent acts in the U.S., prosecutors allege the men “exercised their power” over the government in El Salvador by intimidating officials, law enforcement and citizens.

“By working side-by-side with our U.S. law enforcement partners and with our partners in El Salvador, we have charged MS-13’s highest-ranking leaders with operating a transnational criminal organization that utilizes terror to impose their will on neighborhoods, businesses and innocent civilians across the United States and Central America,” Acting U.S. Attorney General Rosen said in a written statement.