MS-13, other gang members exploit migrant wave to cross into US

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Members of MS-13 and other gangs are slipping across the southern border, hidden in the waves of thousands of Mexican and Central American migrants who continue to surge into the US.

Border Patrol officials detained five gang members in the last week near frontier crossings at Laredo, TX., said US Border Patrol Agent Chief Matthew Hudak in a tweet Friday.

“They attempt to evade arrest by exploiting the influx of migrants attempting to enter our country,” Hudak tweeted.

Among those caught was a member of MS-13 and two 18th Street gang members, he said.

Both gangs are extremely violent and have origins among Central American immigrant communities in Los Angeles. MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, tried to establish an east coast stronghold on Long Island, responsible for dozens of murders in Suffolk County beginning in 2016. After an intense crackdown, Suffolk County authorities said they had practically eradicated the gang in the region two years ago.

Last month, Border Patrol agents in California arrested a 28-year-old man from El Salvador who was “a documented MS-13 gang member,” border agents said. The alleged gang member had been traveling in a group of Salvadoran migrants, according to Border Patrol.

In addition to gang members, agents also apprehended two Yemeni men who are on the FBI’s terror watch list at a frontier crossing near the Calexico Port of Entry. The men — ages 33 and 26 — were caught in two separate incidents in January and March, according to a statement from Customs and Border Protection. Their identities were not disclosed.

More than 172,000 migrants crossed into the US in March, with similar numbers expected for April, according to Border Patrol.

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