NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. prosecutors announced terrorism charges Thursday against top MS-13 leaders imprisoned in El Salvador, accusing them of ordering killings and other crimes by the notorious street gang from behind bars.
The directives by the 14 defendants — members of an illicit commission known as “Ranfla Nacional” — have resulted in a wave of violence in El Salvador, the United States and elsewhere, prosecutors said.
The charges brought in New York comprise “the highest-reaching and most sweeping indictment targeting MS-13 and its command and control structure in U.S. history,” Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement in Washington.
The indictment accused the defendants of organizing drug-trafficking and extortion schemes using MS-13’s members in the U.S. to raise money to support terrorist activities in El Salvador.
U.S. authorities said they were exploring ways to have the defendants brought to New York to face prosecution. It was not immediately clear whether any of the men had attorneys who could comment on their behalf.