MS-13, otherwise known as Mara Salvatrucha, is an international criminal organization considered one of the most notorious street gangs within the Western Hemisphere. The group originated in Los Angeles, California, in the 1970s and gained notoriety over the decades for its ruthlessness as its reach extended across the US and Central America.
US federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment on Thursday that charged 14 high-ranking MS-13 leaders with various counts of terrorism, three of whom are not presently in custody and are the subjects of federal manhunts.
A release by the US Justice Department (DoJ) identifies the individuals as the gang’s “board of directors” and notes that the targeted leaders “directed MS-13’s violence and criminal activity around the world for almost two decades.”
The charges announced by the department are conspiracy to provide and conceal material support to terrorists, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiracy to finance terrorism and narco-terrorism conspiracy in connection with the defendants’ leadership of the transnational criminal organization.
At present, 11 of the defendants, including Henriquez, are in custody in El Salvador. The release states Justice Department officials are exploring options for extraditing the MS-13 leaders to the US.
The indictment, which was filed by the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York, highlights how…