The Obama administration is cracking down on the finances of an ultra-violent street gang known as MS-13.
The Treasury Department dubbed MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, a transnational criminal organization, and are working to freeze the gang’s money supplyand seize what is estimated to be millions of dollars in criminal profits from drug and human smuggling, Yahoo! News reports.
The gang, comprised of over 10,000 immigrants who fled El Salvadors civil war, established itself in Los Angeles before spreading across 46 states in the United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jason Shatarsky says their brutal tactics of hacking victims with machetes in broad daylight have shocked authorities and rival gangs.”They saw a level of violence that hadn’t been seen before,” he said.
MS-13’s members, who align themselves with Mexico’s drug cartels, target residents and business owners for extortion, among other crimes. The Treasury Department hopes to stifle their operations, located throughout Central America and parts of Mexico, to prevent money from being funneled back to its El Salvador leaders. The Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, David S. Cohen, says any member affiliated with the gang is subject to criminal prosecution.