More than a dozen alleged members of the notorious MS-13 gang were arrested in Ohio and Indiana on Tuesday, according to the Justice Department.
Authorities made 13 arrests in early morning raids, Fox News reports.
A federal grand jury had charged 10 members of Ms-13's "Columbus Clique" with "conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence in an indictment returned on July 27," the Justice Department said.
The indictment alleges that the 10 individuals "conspired to commit extortion through the use of threatened or actual force, violence or fear to intimidate their victims into paying money to the defendants and their co-conspirators." They often sent money by wire transfer, often through "intermediaries," to MS-13 members and associates in El Salvador and elsewhere to further the group's international criminal activities.
The U.S. government in 2012 designated MS-13 as a "transnational criminal organization." No other street gang has received that designation.
Five other individuals were charged in criminal complaints with reentering the U.S. after deportation. Two of the 15, Jose Manuel Romero-Parada and Nelson Alexander Flores, are fugitives who remain at large.
Victims of alleged MS-13 extortion in Cbus are encouraged to call the anonymous hotline 614-849-1765 pic.twitter.com/58wLCJzaCi
— US Attorney Southern District of Ohio (@SDOHnews) August 15, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised the arrests in a statement.
"With more than 10,000 members across 40 states, MS-13 is one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the United States today," Sessions said. "MS-13 members have killed children and pregnant women, extorted immigrant-owned businesses, and trafficked underage girls to sell them for sex."
"President Trump has ordered the Department of Justice to reduce crime and take down transnational criminal organizations, and we will be relentless in our pursuit of these objectives," Sessions continued. "Today's charges are our next step toward making this country safer by taking MS-13 off of our streets for good."