Parts of Los Angeles were in for a surprise early Wednesday morning as federal and local authorities had conducted raids on dozens of high-ranking members of the MS-13 street gang (Mara Salvatrucha).
The raids which took place early Wednesday morning were aimed at catching MS-13 members while they were sleeping or off-guard. The focus was put on arresting leading members of the MS-13 gang, the ATF reported.
“Today we disrupted this gang’s command and control,” said Eric Harden, who is a special agent that is in charge of the ATF’s Los Angeles field division.
The 40 raids this morning come after 2 years of planning and involved around 1,000 officers from the ATF, FBI, DEA, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, LAPD and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Since the raids took place, it is reported that than half of the 44 people who have been arrested early Wednesday morning are actually undocumented immigrants, Sandra Brown, the acting US Attorney said.
It was said that the raids on MS-13 members were originally designed to bring down violent crime, but since most MS-13 members “prey on” undocumented immigrants, this helps them fight two birds with one stone, the Los Angeles Police Chief, Charlie Beck said.
The raids were took place earlier this morning are said to be the largest crackdown of MS-13 members in Los Angeles history.
These operations might have put a dab in the movement of the gang in Los Angeles, as LA is considered to be the main base for MS-13 members in the United States, which is also one of the largest criminal enterprises in the country.
The MS-13 members which were arrested this morning face a gang of charges, that include, federal racketeering and narcotics conspiracy. Sandra Brown, the acting US Attorney, said that if the suspects are found guilty of the charges put before them, then they are looking at spending decades in federal prison, meanwhile, 3 of the gang members arrested could face the death penalty.