(CNS News) -- A new report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) shows that since 2016, approximately 749 MS-13 gang members have been prosecuted in the United States. The report further shows that 74% of these gang members, or about 554 persons, are illegal aliens.
The report, “Full Scale Response: A Report on the Department’s Efforts to Combat MS-13 from 2016-2020," reveals that of the 749 MS-13 gang members prosecuted so far, more than 500 have been convicted. Among those, 37 have received life sentences.
The DOJ is using at least 20 federal criminal statutes to prosecute the MS-13 gangsters, including, "for the first time, filing terrorism charges against MS-13's leadership," said the DOJ in a press release.
"The data also show that for decades MS-13 has exploited weaknesses in border enforcement policies, as approximately 74 percent of the defendants prosecuted were unlawfully present in the United States," said the DOJ.
"The report also describes the Department’s efforts to combat MS-13 internationally through increased partnerships with law enforcement in Mexico and Central America," stated the Department. "Through international cooperation, hundreds of MS-13 members have been arrested abroad and more than 50 MS-13 members have been extradited to the United States."
The overwhelming majority of MS-13 members who were prosecuted were illegally in the United States. In addition to the 74% that were illegals, 15% had an undetermined immigration status, said the DOJ. Also, 8% were U.S. citizens and only 3% had a "lawful status" in the United States.
“In 2017, the President directed the Department of Justice to go to war against MS-13, and we did just that,” said Attorney General Barr. “In coordination with our partners at the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department’s law enforcement components have successfully investigated, charged, and arrested command and control elements of MS-13 responsible for particularly heinous crimes against our communities.
Joint Task Force Vulcan’s operations -- the DOJ program established to dismantle MS-13 -- have "significantly degraded MS-13 capabilities," said Barr.
"While there is still work to be done, the Department of Justice remains steadfastly committed to protecting Americans from MS-13, and we will not rest until we have successfully eradicated this violent gang," said the attorney general.
MS-13 has been designated a "transnational criminal organization," or TCO, by the DOJ and the Treasury Department.
According to the DOJ report, "MS-13 operates in the United States, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and other countries. Each year, MS-13 is responsible for violent crimes in the United States, including murders, extortion, arms and drug trafficking, assaults, rapes, human trafficking, robberies, and kidnappings.
"For decades, MS-13 has exploited weaknesses in U.S. immigration enforcement policies to move its members in and out of the United States and to recruit new members who have arrived in the United States illegally. Moreover, MS-13 has infiltrated both cities and suburbs of the United States and established cliques in California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia."
To read the report, click here.