Feds announce charges against alleged MS-13 gang members in Ohio

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Thirteen suspects were arrested in OH and Indiana Tuesday.

"Before today it may not have been well known by the public that MS-13 was even in Columbus, Ohio, and the surrounding areas", the United States attorney for the region, Benjamin Glassman, said.

The Justice Department announced Tuesday that 13 members and associates of the MS-13 gang were arrested in Central Ohio and Indiana. Five of the suspected gang members have also been charged with transnational criminal organization and illegal immigration offenses. The Mara Salvatrucha is considered to be a substantial worldwide crime enterprise comprised of "tens of thousands" of members in Central America, and it is now in many states in America. It grew after some members were deported to El Salvador, helping turn that country into one of the most violent places in the world.

"With more than 10,000 members across 40 states, MS-13 is one of the most unsafe criminal organizations in the United States today", Attorney General Sessions said.

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MS-13, also called Mara Salvatrucha, is believed to have been founded as a neighborhood street gang in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s by immigrants fleeing a civil war in El Salvador. "Today's charges are our next step toward making this country safer by taking MS-13 off of our streets for good".

The 10 charged by a federal grand jury with conspiracy to commit extortion allegedly used threatened or actual force to intimidate their victims into paying them money, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Eight of suspected MS-13 gang members arrested in OH and in also had extortion, money laundering, and weapons charges levied against them. Prosecutors said money was then sent "usually by wire transfer and often through intermediaries", to MS-13 members and associates in El Salvador and elsewhere to promote the group's criminal activities.

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