MS-13 is a street gang, not a drug cartel. Why it matters in the US?
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In October 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that pursuing the Mara Salvatrucha, a Salvadoran gang also known as MS-13, was “a priority for our Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces.”

“Drugs are killing more Americans than ever before, in large part thanks to powerful cartels and international gangs and deadly new synthetic opioids like fentanyl,” Sessions told the International Association of Chiefs of Police on Oct. 23. He concluded that “perhaps the most brutal of these gangs is MS-13.”

SEE ALSO: How does the M-13 work? 

President Donald Trump also cites MS-13 to justify his administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration from Latin America. In his 2018 State of the Union address, Trump threatened to “destroy” the group, which is responsible for a spate of brutal, high-profile murders in Boston, Long Island, Virginia and beyond.

There’s a problem here – and it’s not just MS-13’s violent ethos. It’s that the Trump administration is getting this gang all wrong.


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