A member of the MS-13 gang shows his tattoo after he was arrested in 2007. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
The Central American gang MS-13 was officially recognized as an international criminal organization on Thursday by the Obama administration.
The Treasury Department named the gang an international criminal organization in an effort to stop the gang from being able to store the money they earn in U.S. banks. The government feels that by accomplishing this, it may be harder for the gang to continue to grow or even exist period eventually.
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The group is has become notorious for criminal activities such as selling drugs, running prostitution organizations, human trafficking and stealing money from corporations inside the U.S. and Central America. Members of the gang mainly go after local residents and multiple different business owners for extortion as well.
Using machetes has become somewhat of a signature for the gang, as it is the main weapon of choice when they are trying to get their way. The gang first formed in Los Angeles in the 1980's and now has up to 10,000 members in 46 states according to Yahoo News.
Tattoos are also a source of pride for the gang as well, as most members of the gang have more than one including multiple on their face.
The group has also aligned with several of Mexico's warring drug organizations. Due to this, the gang has earned a strong reputation in places like California, Washington and Virginia. The MS-13 gang is also well known in Mexico and has even started expanded as far as some places in Europe.
Earlier this month 11 members of the gang were arrested in Rhode Island, MA as part of a two year investigation accord to the Los Angeles Times. Since 2006, 4,078 gang members have been arrested.
The gang made headlines back in 2003 when a pregnant teenager named Brenad Paz was killed after the gang found out she had been telling the police secret information about the gang according to the Associated Press.
Six people were also charged in the murder of three Newark boys in 2007, who were killed after being cut by machetes and then shot. None of the men convicted admitted to being a part of the MS-13 gang, but most people believe that they were.
The Department of Treasury has stated they are going to start trying to figure out a way to make it harder for gangs like MS-13 to obtain bank accounts to store the money they steal from the crimes the gang commits.
By creating stricter bank account rules, they hope that this is just the first step to the eventual downfall of the MS-13 gang. Anyone found out to be part of the gang or doing business with a gang member will be arrested and will most likely face jail time.