WASHINGTON – The US government announced on Monday the creation of a special task force to combat “transnational crime” focusing on specific gangs and drug cartels, as well as on the Lebanese group Hezbollah.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions held a press conference to unveil the formation of the anti-crime group of experts to prevent such criminal organizations from operating in the US.
“Today I am announcing that we are creating a transnational organized crime Task Force of experienced prosecutors who will coordinate our efforts and develop a plan to take each of these groups off of our streets for good,” Sessions said.
Among the targets of the Department of Justice task force are five “transnational criminal” groups: the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang, the Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) drug cartel, the Sinaloa cartel, the Clan del Golfo and Lebanese Hezbollah.
The task force will be headed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and will have subcommittees to deal with the particulars of each of the five mentioned criminal organizations.
Sessions placed particular emphasis on MS-13, which – he said – has 10,000 members in the US and is the “most violent” gang on US soil.
“MS-13 has put a special target on Washington, D.C. and the surrounding suburbs,” Sessions said, adding that in the next 90 days each subcommittee will have to deliver a report with recommendations for the best ways to combat these organizations.
Since he became president, Donald Trump has stressed the need to fight criminal groups originating in Latin America.
Last week, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was in Washington to ask the US to back his request for the United Nations to declare the gangs “human rights violators” and to fight them in a more coordinated way on the international level.