‘Victim was dismembered and his body parts were thrown into a canyon…’
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles charged 22 people affiliated with MS-13, a violent gang known for brutal crimes and drug peddling, for murdering residents with machetes, bats, and knives in the Angeles National Forest.
Of the 22 defendants, 19 had entered the country illegally, all within the last few years, according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles.
These gang members are suspected of carrying out more than 200 crimes in several states over 9 years, authorities said.
“We have now taken off the street nearly two dozen people associated with the most violent arm of MS-13 in Los Angeles,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said, according to Fox News.
The gang members were in a group associated with MS-13 and were often required to commit violent acts, like murder a rival gang member, to gain full entrance into MS-13.
In one case, a member of a rival gang defaced with MS-13 graffiti had been found in the woods with his heart cut out of his chest.
“The victim was dismembered and his body parts were thrown into a canyon after one of the defendants allegedly cut the heart out of the victim’s body,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement.
Some of the arrested MS-13 members were as young as 16-years-old when they were recruited.
And 16 of the 22 arrested gang members could be eligible for the death penalty, though law enforcement hasn’t said whether they plan on pursuing capital punishment.
“Taking violent offenders off the street should send a message to MS-13 members and their associates that medieval-style violence and senseless murder will not be tolerated in Los Angeles,” said Paul Delacourt, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.