Attorney General Jeff Sessions is further escalating the Trump administration's drive to eradicate the violent gang MS-13 by designating the group as a legitimate target for federal interagency task forces typically focused on drug trafficking and money laundering.
Speaking to police chiefs in Philadelphia Monday, Sessions announced that he's putting the El Salvador-based gang in the cross-hairs of the federal government's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces—alliances that coordinate law enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration, the International Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
"They all have one mission: to go after criminal gangs and drug traffickers at the highest levels," Sessions told the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference. “Now, they will go after MS-13 with a renewed vigor and a sharpened focus. I am announcing that I have authorized them to use every lawful tool to investigate MS-13—and not just our drug laws, but everything from RICO racketeering to our tax laws to our firearms laws. Just like we took Al Capone off the streets with our tax laws, we will use whatever laws we have to get MS-13 off the streets."
Sessions warned that the reach of the deadly gang, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, extends "through 40 U.S. states and to within yards of the U.S. Capitol" and he reminded the chiefs of the criminal group's deadly motto: "Kill. Rape. Control."