News & Politics

MS-13 Recruiting 'Border Surge' Kids?

In this July 10, 2014, photo, children watch television at the "Todo por Ellos" shelter for migrant children in Tapachula, Mexico. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

If you were one of the people who wondered what happened to all those children flooding across the border in recent years, wonder no more.

Authorities in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area are concerned that the surge of unaccompanied migrants coming across the United States’ southern border could be helping the notorious MS-13 street gang recruit new members and is fueling a spat of violence around the nation’s capital.

Authorities do not have any idea how many of the unaccompanied minors have joined gangs like MS-13, although “three alleged MS-13 members who were charged in September of last year in connection to the murder of a 17-year-old were identified as entering the country illegally in 2013 – when the border surge was at its peak – and skipping out on their immigration hearings.”

“History dictates the way gangs recruit,” Ed Ryan, the gang prevention coordinator in Virginia’s Fairfax County, said. “They always prey on kids who are new to an area or are looking for someone who they can relate to.”

MS-13 was “founded” more than twenty years ago in Southern California by immigrants fleeing El Salvador. Taking lessons from those violent streets, the gang has a reputation for “one of the most ruthless and sophisticated street gangs in the country.”  There are as many as 10,000 members in 46 states, reports Fox News.

“MS-13 functions like all immigrant organized crime group, they start by targeting their own community,” says Lou Gentile, a former officer at the Organized Crime Unit of the Pennsylvania State Police and founder of the investigative firm CSI.

The gang is apparently trying to increase its pretense in the D.C area, evidenced by the uptick in court appearances by alleged members. “13 purported MS-13 members will appear in federal court this week after allegedly carrying out killings in 2013 and 2014.”

“What we are beginning to see is an attempt to re-establish themselves as the preeminent gang in the Maryland area,” John McCarthy, the state attorney for Maryland’s Montgomery County, told the Washington Times. “They are actively trying to build their numbers again. That is based on direction they are receiving from outside the U.S.

Outside the U.S.? Interesting.

The gang has been working in the human trafficking arena, trafficking underage girls to work in brothels. “While the involvement in the sex trade has kept the levels of violence down to an extent over the last few years, officials in the Washington D.C.-area have said they are seeing disturbing hints that violent crime tied to the organization could be on the rise.”

It sounds like the federal government has done a disservice to these poor children. American dream, indeed.