About three-quarters of the members of the gang MS-13 who have been indicted in the United States by federal authorities in the last four years have been living in the country illegally, according to a Justice Department report.

The report, which details the DoJ’s efforts to fight MS-13 during President Donald Trump’s term, says that “The Department’s efforts have resulted in the prosecution of at least 749 MS-13 defendants,” with 500 sentenced to prison and 37 given a life sentence. “Many other defendants are awaiting trial, including two against whom the Department is seeking the death penalty. Others are pending sentencing. Based on our best information, approximately 74% of the MS-13 defendants prosecuted during the past four years are in the United States illegally.” 

The Department notes that “Leaders of MS-13 based in Central America have directed MS-13 criminal activities in the United States. These leaders – many of whom were previously deported from the United States – operated with impunity because of failure of the rule of law and law enforcement corruption in these countries; a lack of law enforcement training; and a lack of coordination between U.S. law enforcement and their Central American counterparts.”

According to the DoJ, it’s “critical” for countries to share records on gang members because it “prevents MS-13 members from fleeing from one Central American country to another and assists Central American countries in their efforts to control their borders.”

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