- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Six members of the notorious El Salvadoran gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, which has which has sought to expand its influence throughout the United States, including the D.C. metropolitan area, were designated Wednesday by the Treasury Department as international criminals as the government seeks to cripple the gang’s growing and dangerous operations.

The designation makes the gang subject to penalties by the Office of Foreign Assets Control and gives U.S. authorities an opportunity to hinder MS-13’s ability to funnel money to its leaders in El Salvador or launder criminal proceeds through otherwise legitimate businesses. Adding the names of six of the gang’s purported leaders allows the U.S. to target their bank accounts individually.

“MS-13 is an extremely violent and dangerous gang responsible for a multitude of crimes that directly threaten the welfare and security of U.S. citizens, as well as peoples throughout Central America,” said Adam Szubin, director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.  “We will continue to target the leadership and financial networks supporting MS-13, and work with our law enforcement partners from across the United States and around the world to disrupt their criminal activities.”

Known for sometimes beheading their enemies, MS-13 consists of more than 30,000 members and operates in at least five countries, including the United States. Law enforcement authorities consider it one of the most dangerous criminal gangs in the world today. MS-13 promotes its illicit interests through murder, kidnapping, blackmail, extortion and assassination, including carrying out numerous murders within the United States.

U.S. persons and businesses are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the individuals designated, and any assets of those designees subject to U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.

The formal designations of six MS-13 members is designed to further disrupt the gang’s activities and to protect the U.S. and international financial system from abuse. As active members and leaders, the six are heavily involved in directing and participating in illicit activity, such as drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion, and murder.

The six are Borromeo Enrique Henriquez Solorzano, 34, incarcerated in El Salvador, who is widely regarded as the Central American leader of the group and frequently acts as the spokesperson for the MS-13 gang in El Salvador. Several other MS-13 leaders, including Marvin Geovanny Monterrosa Larios, 39, Moises Humberto Rivera Luna, 44, and Saul Antonio Turcios Angel, 35, have been indicted in the United States for racketeering, murder and other violent crimes.

Moris Alexander Bercian Manchon, 28, has been involved in narcotics trafficking operations on behalf of the organization and Jose Misael Cisneros Rodriguez, 36, is both an MS-13 crime boss and a narcotics trafficker.

“History has proven that we can successfully take down organized crime groups when we combine sophisticated investigative techniques with tough street level enforcement, cutting off cash flows, contraband and collaborators to ensure they no longer find safe haven in our communities,” said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton.

• Jerry Seper can be reached at jseper@washingtontimes.com.

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