WJLA — FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (ABC7) — The MS-13 gang is well-known for committing violent and brutal crimes.
And those crimes have been increasing across the D.C. region.
David LeValley, special agent in charge at the FBI’s Washington Field Office, saw the rise of MS-13 nearly 10 years ago, followed by a lull two years later after law enforcement cracked down.
Now LeValley, special agent in charge at the FBI’s Washington Field Office, says the gang is back.
“We have seen increased activity and that activity is mirrored by what they’re seeing in Central America.”
Authorities say gang leaders in El Salvador and Guatemala are trying to establish a greater presence here-especially Northern Virginia-for profit through drugs, theft, and extortion.
The mass migration of unaccompanied minors from Central America into the States in 2014 created a whole new crop of recruits. And these young men, some of them just 14 or 15 years old, are committing horrific crimes, such as decapitation and stoning.
In June of 2016, Leesburg Police, along with federal authorities, raided a home suspected of MS-13 members, leading to several arrests. And in Fairfax County MS-13 related incidents in the first 4 months of this year jumped more than 160 percent compared with 2015.
For Federal authorities, a potentially big turning point happened in May of this year, as prosecutors convicted six MS-13 members for their roles in three murders and one attempted murder in Northern Virginia.
LeValley says the conviction sends a clear message, “Where they may have been able to get away with some of that in Central America, they will not get away with it here.”