I am providing you with a news release that was published by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on February 9,2011. It details how 11 members of the extremely violent transnational gang, MS-13 were indicted for a series of serious crimes- indeed some of the most serious crimes an individual could be charged with. The victims of these crimes were violently attacked. Some were stabbed while others were shot. Some of the victims of these thugs died because of their injuries.
What is beyond my comprehension is how ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) could post a news release without making a single reference to the immigration status of any of the 11 alleged members of MS-13 especially when the news release identified MS-13 as being a “transnational gang!”
Not a single word was written about the nationality of any of those who were arrested. Not a single word was written to describe any possible immigration law violations. Not a single word was written to make note as to how any of these “transnational” criminals entered the United States.
Here is the paragraph that appears in the news release that describes the transnational nature of MS-13:
“Today’s indictment is the product of tremendous cooperation and efforts of HSI special agents and local law enforcement officers. As a result, these violent gang members will now be brought to justice to face very serious federal charges,” said Executive Associate Director James Dinkins of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). “HSI is committed to enhancing the public safety of the residents in the national Capitol Region by attacking and dismantling transnational gangs such as MS-13.”
As I have previously noted in other commentaries I have written about the long list of failings of the federal government to address the importance of enforcing immigration laws- when the agency that bears the primary responsibility for enforcing our nation’s immigration laws ignores those immigration laws, you know our nation is in extreme trouble!
The immigration laws of our nation are intended to prevent the entry of aliens into our country whose presence would be harmful to our nation and our citizens. It is a certainty that the transnational criminals who were discussed in this news report not only represent a threat to the well being of our nation and our citizens is not mere conjecture but have been established by virtue of the nature of the crimes for which they stand accused. If ICE is ignoring the immigration status of these thugs then it must be presumed that they may not even make the most rudimentary efforts of lodging detainers for those suspected gang members if they are determined to be illegal aliens so that no matter the outcome of the criminal proceedings- likely involving trials, they will be removed (deported) from the United States after they complete their jail sentences presuming that they are found guilty or that they will be removed even if they are found “not guilty” at trial.
Additionally, it is entirely possible that if any of these defendants are illegal aliens that they may have also violated other laws that involve their immigration status. For example, if an illegal alien is found to be in possession of a firearm, such a violation of law can easily be prosecuted on the federal level under the auspices of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(5). The maximum penalty for this crime is ten year in jail. I made a significant number of arrests when I was a federal agent and the elements of the crime are extremely easy to prove. Other members of transnational gangs may have also been previously deported and then reentered the United States without authority. If such an alien has a prior criminal conviction that resulted in that alien’s deportation, then that crime carries a maximum penalty of 20 years of incarceration. This crime is even easier to prove than the firearms charge I noted previously.
The problem is that if ICE did not even think to discuss the immigration component of these cases, then I have to presume that ICE is ignoring these charges.
Additionally, as I have noted on many previous occasions, when an individual is arrested for any crime, the next issue that has to be addressed is the issue of appropriate bail that should be set. While it is very likely that a murder suspect may be held without bail, others of these criminal suspects may not be charged with crimes of that magnitude. A bail hearing generally only deals with two issues- danger to the community and risk of flight. Danger to the community can be shown by the nature of the crime that the person stands accused of. Risk of flight is often far more nebulous and difficult to demonstrate to a judge or magistrate. However, often information about a defendant’s immigration status and relating factors, such as information contained in a defendant’s immigration file can very often provide conclusive and compelling evidence of risk of flight. As an INS special agent, I was often called upon to testify at bail hearings. When I was able to provide evidence of previous instances when a defendant was encountered by immigration authorities and provided multiple false names and utterly fictitious addresses, it quickly became evident that the defendant in question presented an extreme risk of flight. This could be bolstered when I was able to provide specific instances when the defendant posted bond in an immigration case and then forfeited the bail and failed to show up for hearing.
The point is that the immigration component of these cases is extremely important and yet, there was no mention in the press release about the citizenship or immigration status of any of the 11 defendants who are accused of belonging to a pernicious transnational gang. Here is how the press release described the gang:
“According to the indictment, MS-13 is a transnational gang with members in most of the states within the United States, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. It is alleged that MS-13 engages in racketeering activity to include murder, narcotics distribution, extortion, robberies, and obstruction of justice, among other crimes.”
The most fundamental question that must be asked is why was there not a single mention of immigration in a press release that was issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement? Even if any of the defendants are citizens of the United States, given the fact that the press release noted that MS-13 has members in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico in addition to the United States, then the press release needed to address the issue of citizenship. This failure is unacceptable!
Now I also want to take this opportunity to illustrate many of the points I have been making about the extreme importance of the enforcement of our immigration laws.
One of the lies that are often told by those who oppose the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws would harm community policing. They say that if the immigration laws are enforced illegal aliens would be afraid to cooperate with law enforcement authorities. What is ignored is the fact that there are visas that can be provided to illegal aliens who fall victim to criminals and that there are visas that can be provided to those illegal aliens who cooperate with law enforcement authorities. Meanwhile the criminals use the tactic of intimidation to keep members of the immigrant community from cooperating with police or other law enforcement officials. Consider this paragraph from the news release:
The indictment details stabbings, beatings, assaults and murders from 2008 through 2010. It alleges that some defendants participated in assaults against persons they believed to be rival gang members, threats against persons they believed to be cooperating with law enforcement, and extortions. The range of criminal activity includes acts in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and other states. The indictment also alleges that there was frequent contact between MS-13 members in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and El Salvador and that persons incarcerated in El Salvador encouraged or ordered assaults and murders.
The news release also substantiates a couple of other issues I have frequently raised. Because these gangs are “transnational” they have cohorts in their home countries who can do harm to family members of immigrants in the United States if they refuse to cooperate with the criminals or if they witness crimes and may go to the police to provide information. Furthermore, members of transnational criminal organizations are also able to easily flee from the United States if they become convinced that their criminal competitors are a threat or, especially, if they come to believe that they are about to be arrested by local police or other law enforcement authorities.
Another important point is that the need to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws has nothing to do with racism. The most likely victims of transnational criminals are members of the immigrant community and often are of the same ethnicity. Consider this paragraph that details the murder of a 14 year old boy:
Among other charges, the indictment charges Hector Diaz-Flores with the December 12, 2008 murder of 14-year-old Giovanni Sanchez, whose body was found in a roadway near 14th and Newton Streets NW, in Washington, D.C. Diaz-Flores previously was indicted in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on charges of second-degree murder while armed, conspiracy, and gang-related and weapons offenses stemming from the slaying.
The security of our nation’s borders and the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws are vital if our nation’s security is to be protected and if the lives of our citizens and others who live within the borders of our nation are to be protected.
It is disturbing that ICE apparently did not think that the immigration component of this case was newsworthy.
The federal government has sued the politicians, including the governor of Arizona for daring to enact an immigration law that essentially parallels the federal immigration statutes. This past summer, Secretary of State Clinton sent a report to the United Nations boasting about the lawsuit as a means of demonstrating the federal government’s concerns about “human rights” and the enforcement of our immigration laws appear to be little more than an afterthought.
The time has long since come for the federal government to place far greater emphasis on the immigration laws.
It is unacceptable that the appearance was created that the immigration law violations were little more than afterthoughts to the leaders at ICE who wrote the press release.
The purpose of our nation’s immigration laws is to prevent the entry of aliens into our country whose presence is harmful to our nation and our citizens. When aliens manage to enter our country in violation of law or otherwise violate the terms of their admission into our country, the immigration laws are supposed to provide a lawful remedy in the removal of those aliens from our country.
This mission is, arguably, one of the most important of all missions that are supposed to be carried out by our federal government.
Nothing less than the security of our nation and safety of our citizens hang in the balance!
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!
our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!
We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”
The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.
The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!
The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians. I implore you to resolve this year to get involved!
I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world. However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!
If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!
All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!
We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.
This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!
You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!
Democracy is not a spectator sport!
Lead, follow or get out of the way!
Please check out my website:
February 9, 2011
11 Alleged MS-13 Members Indicted on Racketeering and Other Charges in Series of Violent Crimes
Gang Targeted Rivals in Shootings, Stabbings, Beatings
WASHINGTON – Eleven alleged MS-13 members have been indicted
on federal racketeering and other charges for various violent crimes
throughout the Washington, D.C. area, including murders, assaults and
other attacks aimed at eliminating rival gangs.
“Today’s indictment is the product of tremendous cooperation and
efforts of HSI special agents and local law enforcement officers. As a
result, these violent gang members will now be brought to justice to
face very serious federal charges,” said Executive Associate Director
James Dinkins of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE)
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). “HSI is committed to enhancing
the public safety of the residents in the national Capitol Region by
attacking and dismantling transnational gangs such as MS-13.”
The 35-count indictment charges various defendants with taking part
in a racketeering conspiracy, as well as murder in aid of racketeering,
kidnapping in aid of racketeering, assault with a deadly weapon in aid
of racketeering, and other offenses. The indictment alleges that all of
the defendants were members of MS-13 at the time of the offenses.
The charges expand upon an earlier indictment returned against four
of the defendants in September 2010. The new indictment names those four
defendants, and adds seven other defendants to the case, along with
broader allegations of the gang’s criminal conduct.
Law enforcement authorities arrested four of the defendants today as
part of a coordinated national effort against street gangs. The charges
carry significant penalties. All of the defendants could face maximum
terms of life in prison. One defendant, Hector Diaz-Flores, is charged
with murder in aid of racketeering, an offense that could be punishable
According to the indictment, MS-13 is a transnational gang with
members in most of the states within the United States, El Salvador,
Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. It is alleged that MS-13 engages in
racketeering activity to include murder, narcotics distribution,
extortion, robberies, and obstruction of justice, among other crimes.
The indictment details stabbings, beatings, assaults and murders from
2008 through 2010. It alleges that some defendants participated in
assaults against persons they believed to be rival gang members, threats
against persons they believed to be cooperating with law enforcement,
and extortions. The range of criminal activity includes acts in the
District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and other states. The
indictment also alleges that there was frequent contact between MS-13
members in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and El Salvador and
that persons incarcerated in El Salvador encouraged or ordered assaults
Among other charges, the indictment charges Hector Diaz-Flores with
the December 12, 2008 murder of 14-year-old Giovanni Sanchez, whose body
was found in a roadway near 14th and Newton Streets NW, in Washington,
D.C. Diaz-Flores previously was indicted in the Superior Court of the
District of Columbia on charges of second-degree murder while armed,
conspiracy, and gang-related and weapons offenses stemming from the
The indictment also alleges that the March 31, 2010 murder of Felipe
Enriquez, 25, which took place in Montgomery County, Md., was an overt
act committed by Manuel Saravia, Jose Martinez, and Noe Machado-Erazo in
furtherance of the conspiracy.
Aguilar, Mejia and Silva previously were indicted by a grand jury in
the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on federal charges
stemming from a December 11, 2009 home invasion in which they held five
occupants at gunpoint and knifepoint. Sarba also was indicted in that
case, accused of calling potential witnesses and making threats. Those
charges now become part of this indictment against them.
Arrested today were Marchado-Erazo, Martinez-Amaya, Rios, and
Saravia. All of the others previously were in custody, except for
Lopez-Ramirez, who is believed to be in Honduras.
“This indictment is our most recent step in a targeted, sustained
effort to dismantle MS-13 and other violent gangs that threaten our
neighborhoods,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “The allegations describe a
string of beatings, assaults, and murders across the D.C. metro area,
including the stabbing death of a 14-year-old boy in Columbia Heights. I
want to commend our law enforcement partners for their hard work to
bring criminal gang members to justice.”
“We are committed to pursuing any gang that tries to set up operations in our city,” said MPD Chief Lanier.
The case is being investigated by ICE HSI and the MPD. Assistance was
provided by the Montgomery County, Md. Police Department and the U.S.
Attorney’s Office in Maryland For more information, visit www.ice.gov.
You may also visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad
responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities. For
more information, visit www.ICE.gov. To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-347-2423.