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Trump Calls Alleged MS-13 Gang Members ‘Monsters Who Murder Children’ As DOJ Files Terrorism, Death Penalty Charges

The federal government on Wednesday announced that an MS-13 gang member had been charged with terrorism-related offenses for the first time.

In an indictment unsealed Tuesday, the Department of Justice charged Melgar Diaz in the Eastern District of Virginia with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists; conspiring to kill or maim persons overseas; conspiring to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries; conspiring to finance terrorism, and; conspiring to engage in narco-terrorism.

Diaz also faces charges of racketeering conspiracy and drug trafficking.

Attorney General William Barr also filed a Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty against alleged MS-13 leader Alexi Saenz, who was indicted in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) in 2017. Saenz is alleged to have committed seven murders between 2016-2017. Two of the victims were Brentwood high school students killed with a machete and baseball bat.

‘The DOJ has also announced that it will seek the death penalty for a blood-thirsty MS-13 leader responsible for the despicable killing of seven Americans, including two teenage girls,’ President Donald Trump said Wednesday from the Oval Office while flanked by Barr and other law enforcement officials. “We think the monsters who murder children should be put to death.”

Another pair of indictments was unsealed Tuesday.  The first, in the District of Nevada, says 13 alleged MS-13 gang members are facing 21 various charges including Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE), narcotics distribution, and weapons charges. The second, also in the Eastern District of New York, charged eight alleged gang members with 24 counts that include Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) and Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR) charges related to six murders, two attempted murders, kidnapping, narcotics, and related firearms offenses.

“Today’s announcements are the result of tremendous teamwork and coordination between prosecutors and law enforcement officers across the United States and Central America,” said Joint Task Force Director John Durham (who is not the same John Durham tasked with investigating the origins of the Russia investigation). “MS-13 is a violent transnational criminal organization, whose criminal activities respect no boundaries. The only way to defeat MS-13 is by targeting the organization as a whole, focusing on the leadership structure, and deploying a whole-of-government approach against a common enemy.”

According to NBC New York, MS-13 gang members have been blamed for at least 30 murders in the state dating back to 2010.

[image via Fox News/YouTube screengrab]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.