Just over a year ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a stunning response to President Trump’s use of “animals” to characterize members of the brutal MS-13 gang.
“Calling people animals is not a good thing,” she said before speeding out of her news briefing.
A 78-page federal indictment released this week charges 22 individuals with ties to MS-13 of committing a series of “medieval-style” murders and shows in excruciating detail the just how wrong Pelosi – and those in the media who supported her criticism – was.
In one 2017 murder, several MS-13 gang members sought revenge against a rival gang member by abducting, choking, and then driving the victim to a remote location in the Angeles National Forest. He was then attacked with a machete.
“The victim was dismembered, and his body parts were thrown into a canyon after one of the defendants allegedly cut the heart out of the victim’s body,” noted a release issued by the U.S. District Attorney’s office in the Central District of California.
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles Times that 19 of the 22 defendants were illegal immigrants who crossed into the U.S. in the last four years. And so were their victims.
“These gang members sought out young victims in their teens and early 20s who were new to this country. Many had recently immigrated from El Salvador and Honduras. They were alone looking to fit in with others from native countries,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.
While some in the media have downplayed the gang’s presence by portraying them as a foil used by President Trump, the decision made in 2017 to prioritize the notorious Mara Salvatrucha seems to be paying off.
According to an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report, in FY 2018, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) personnel arrested 959 MS-13 members and associates and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers removed nearly 6,000 gang members, including 1,332 MS-13 members – a 24-percent increase from FY 2017.
But those numbers might have been higher had several sanctuary jurisdictions honored ICE detainer requests. According to figures provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee in response to written questions, there were 142 detainers denied by various sanctuary cities between October 1, 2016 and June 19, 2017.
Not surprisingly, the majority of the offending counties were in California – Los Angeles (16), Santa Clara (22) and Orange (12).
The litany and brutal nature of the crimes outlined in the charges made this week are a clear indictment of those who downplay and provide sanctuary to these animals.