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MS-13 killers Use New Jersey Sanctuary Status to hide from the law

photo by RH

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

TRENTON NJ,  Fulfilling its statutory mandate to keep the public informed about the operations of organized crime in New Jersey, the State Commission of Investigation today introduced a new project, “Organized Crime Spotlight,” that will periodically provide up‐to‐date profiles of significant criminal groups impacting the State and region. The inaugural report focuses on La Mara Salvatrucha, commonly referred to as MS‐13, a criminal street gang known for extreme violence.  

The State Commission of Investigation is an independent New Jersey watchdog agency  established in 1968 to investigate organized crime and corruption, waste of tax money and  other abuses of the public trust. Copies of public reports are available at the Commission’s  offices or via its Web site at www.state.nj.us/sci.index.shtm  

The Commission found that while aggressive law enforcement efforts and prosecutions at the state and federal levels have been somewhat effective in suppressing MS‐13, it remains a persistent threat in New Jersey, preying primarily on immigrant communities through extortion, robbery and street‐level drug sales.  With a ceaseless thirst to command respect through fear, its trademark ideology of advancing in rank through violence and its rivalries with other groups, murder is always just a spark away for MS‐13 members, the SCI found.  

The most infamous example of MS‐13’s savagery in New Jersey was the slaying of three individuals – and the grave wounding of a fourth – in a Newark schoolyard on the night of Aug. 4, 2007. Six of the gang’s members, including the leader of the Newark clique, are serving long prison sentences for the grisly attack. Such vicious incidents of violence have been less frequent in recent years, and some policing experts believe elements of MS‐13 may be intentionally lying low to avoid law enforcement scrutiny.  

Further, the Commission learned that New Jersey is a central command post for the gang’s operations on the East Coast.  Over the past decade, an effort by MS‐13 leaders in El Salvador to exert greater control over U.S.‐based cliques, or sets, has taken root. These cliques take orders directly from compatriots in El Salvador for killings and pay tribute by wiring cash to leaders in the Central American nation.  New Jersey has played a prominent role in this movement with leaders in Monmouth and Hudson counties directing operations along the East Coast.  

Founded by immigrants fleeing war‐torn El Salvador in the 1980s, MS‐13 originated on the streets of Los Angeles. New Jersey law enforcement officials identified the first MS‐13 members in Elizabeth, Union County, in the mid‐1990s. Today, MS‐13 members are scattered throughout the state from Union City to Morristown, Trenton to Red Bank, and Lindenwold to
Lakewood.

Along with outlining the gang’s origins, expansion, structure and activities, the report also highlights some of the obstacles facing law enforcement as well as approaches some officials have used to tamp down violence and to prevent vulnerable teenagers from bolstering MS‐13’s ranks.  

Combating MS‐13 presents unique challenges to law enforcement due to the insular nature of the gang, which often targets immigrants from El Salvador as both victims and as potential recruits. In some municipalities, outreach is hampered by a lack of Spanish‐speaking officers. Law enforcement officials across the State told the Commission efforts are ongoing to build relationships with these communities but that many people, principally those who are undocumented, are fearful of deportation or of retaliation by the gang.  

Notwithstanding these challenges, law enforcement in some jurisdictions, particularly in Hudson County, have adopted strategies that have successfully headed off potential violence and muted the gang’s predatory behavior. Most notably, law enforcement officials in Union City, Hudson County, told the Commission that while many MS‐13 members are present in the city, the gang does not conduct overt criminal activity there because of a zero‐tolerance approach that involves multiple city departments and the school system.  Some measures taken in Union City include a midnight curfew on those under 18 and a requirement that building owners swiftly remove graffiti, such as gang‐related tags, or face significant financial penalties.  

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ICE arrests 91 in New Jersey operation targeting criminal aliens

June 13,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

NEWARK NJ,  An Salvadoran national in the country illegally, who has an Interpol warrant for being a member of MS-13 and trafficking in firearms and narcotics, is among 91 foreign nationals taken into custody during a five-day operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last week in New Jersey, targeting at-large criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and other immigration violators. The operation was supported by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) New Jersey Field Office.

Of those arrested during the operation, which was spearheaded by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), 77 percent were convicted criminals and 70 percent of them had prior felony convictions.

“The remarkable results of our officers and law enforcement partners highlight ICE’s ongoing commitment to public safety,” said John Tsoukaris, Field Office Director of ERO Newark. “This operation focuses on the arrest of individuals convicted of serious crimes and are a threat to public safety. Because of the targeted efforts of these professional officers, there are 91 fewer criminals in our communities.”

These individuals will go through removal proceedings before an Immigration Judge or for those under a final order of removal, arrangements will be made to remove them from the U.S.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is extremely proud to have assisted in this operation,” said Frank Russo, Acting Director New York Field Office. “It is through collaborative efforts that law enforcement agencies can combat illegal acts and apprehend criminals who pose a threat to the Homeland.”

The individuals arrested throughout New Jersey were nationals of Anguilla (1), Bangladesh (1), Cameroon (1), Colombia (4), Cuba (3), Dominican Republic (14), Ecuador (4), Egypt (1), El Salvador (10), Ghana (1), Guatemala (3), Guinea (1), Guyana (2), Haiti (3), Honduras (4), Jamaica (3), Korea (2), Macedonia (2), Mexico (12), Nicaragua (1), Pakistan (2), Philippines (4), Peru (4), Poland (1), Spain (1), St. Lucia (1), Trinidad (3), and Venezuela (2)

These individuals were arrested in the following counties in New Jersey: Atlantic (3), Bergen (5), Burlington (3), Camden (3), Cumberland (6), Essex (19), Hudson (15), Mercer (7), Middlesex (7), Monmouth (1), Passaic (10), Union (8), and Warren (2). Also, one individual was arrested in New Castle county in Delaware and one individual was arrested in Bronx county in New York. They range from age 19 to 78 years old and all were previously convicted of a variety of offenses. Some of the convictions included sexual assault on a minor, child abuse, possession of narcotics, distribution of narcotics, money laundering, DUI, fraud, domestic violence, theft, possession of a weapon, burglary, larceny, aggravated assault, aggravated assault on law enforcement, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a child, kidnapping and illegal reentry.

Among those arrested during this operation include:

  • In Jersey City, a 39-year-old previously removed Venezuelan national, who has convictions of Aggravated Assault, Resisting Arrest by Force, Possession of a Weapon, and Distribution of Heroin;
  • In Saddle Brook, a 46-year-old Bangladeshi national, who has convictions of Aggravated Assault, and pending charges for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Minor;
  • In New Brunswick, a 47-year-old Honduran national, who has convictions of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, who was released by Middlesex County Jail and rearrested by ICE;
  • In Passaic, a 24-year-old Jamaican national, who has convictions of Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Lewdness;
  • In Perth Amboy, a 32-year-old Dominican national, who has convictions of Possession of Cocaine, Domestic Violence Assault, and Trespassing;
  • In Newark, a 45-year-old Pakistani national, who has convictions of Money Laundering and Theft by Deception;
  • In Elizabeth, a 42-year-old Colombian national, who has a conviction for Homicide
  • In Bergenfield, a 58 year old Philippines national, who has convictions for DUI, Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Assault;
  • In Jersey City, a 54-year-old Dominican national, who has convictions for Kidnapping and Aggravated Assault;
  • In Bridgeton, a 41-year-old Mexican national, who has a conviction for Criminal Sexual Contact;
  • In Pleasantville, a 21-year-old Honduran national, who has been convicted for Endangering the Welfare of a Child;
  • In Plainfield, 22 & 23-year-old El Salvadorian nationals, who are members of MS-13;
  • In Lindenwold, 27 & 29-year-old El Salvadorian nationals, who are members of MS-13;
  • In East Orange, a 23-year-old Anguillan national, who is a member of the Bloods;
  • In South Brunswick, a 31-year-old Venezuelan national, who is a member of MS-13;
  • In West New York, a 26-year-old El Salvadorian national, who has an Interpol warrant for being a member of a terrorist organization (MS-13), trafficking in narcotics and trafficking in firearms;
  • In Bridgeton, a 22-year-old Mexican national, who is a member of the gang Los Pelones

ICE deportation officers conduct targeted enforcement operations every day in locations around the country as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect the nation, uphold public safety and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls.

During targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. Those persons will be evaluated on a case by case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE.

ICE continues to focus its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy. However, as ICE Director Thomas Homan has made clear, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.