Border patrol agents this week in Texas arrested four suspected MS-13 gang members, as well as two illegal migrants who were previously accused of sex crimes in the U.S.
Fox News reported the arrests occurred in the Rio Grande Valley in a 14-hour period. Two of the alleged gang members had been previously deported.
Fox, citing U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, reported that the six people were taken into custody Friday near Roma, Texas. One of them was wanted on a warrant in Florida on a complaint he committed lascivious battery.
A 37-year-old Guatemalan national who entered into the U.S. near McAllen, Texas, was previously convicted of having engaged in lewd behavior with a child under 16.
The man spent 21 months in prison, but his identity was not released. None the men arrested were identified.
Immigration officials made the announcement of the arrests Friday, but offered no further details abut their apprehensions or detainments. Other MS-13 members have been arrested at the border this year as the crisis there has raged on for nearly a year.
MS-13 is a violent gang with origins in Central America and in California. It has a large footprint in cities across the country. Texas has seen its share of violence with the gang operating in the state.
A man affiliated with MS-13 was sentenced to life in prison this week in Harris County.
KPRC-TV reported 26-year-old Luis Gonzalez Cruz will spend the rest of his life in prison for murdering a teen boy who had agreed to testify against other members of the street gang.
Prosecutors said the teen, identified as Estuar Quinones, was shot by Cruz 15 times while he sat on a park bench in Missouri City, Texas, in 2016.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg hailed the conviction and sentencing as evidence that law enforcement officials in the area are going after gangs.
“Gang violence is an insidious and treacherous cycle of brutality and is particularly heinous when a cooperating witness is killed,” said Ogg. “It will never have a place in our city or county.”
Another man affiliated with the gang was sentenced to 40 years in prison over the killing of Quinones, KIAH-TV reported.
The outlet reported Darwin Josue Lopez-Ramos, who was 17 years old in 2016, helped to lure the victim to his death, along with several other MS-13 members.
The Justice Department has estimated that there are up to 70,000 MS-13 members operating across the country.
“The MS13 is a largely urban phenomenon that has cells operating in two continents. The MS13 has between 50,000 and 70,000 members who are concentrated in mostly urban areas in Central America or locations outside the region where there is a large Central American diaspora,” the DOJ has said.
“In Honduras and Guatemala, the gang is still largely urban. In El Salvador, however, the gang has steadily spread into more rural areas. Expansion beyond urban areas has also happened in places in the United States, most notably in Long Island and North Carolina, and increasingly California,” the DOJ added.
Elements of MS-13 have been reported as far away as Spain and Italy.
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