Federal authorities on Wednesday designated six reputed members of the notorious Mara Salvatrucha street gang, which was founded in Los Angeles, as leaders of a transnational criminal organization.
The designation by the U.S. Department of the Treasury generally bars U.S. citizens from conducting transactions with the six named leaders and allows their financial assets to be frozen by federal investigators, authorities said.
Known as MS-13, the gang was founded in the Pico-Union and Westlake neighborhoods of Los Angeles in the 1980s by Salvadoran refugees who had fled a civil war raging in their country.
A 2005 investigation by The Times found that years of deportations of MS-13 leaders from California helped spread the gang across Central America and Mexico and back into more than 30 states in the U.S.
Last year, MS-13 became the first street gang designated by the Treasury Department as a transnational criminal organization. The six reputed leaders identified by federal authorities Wednesday are all Salvadoran nationals and include the suspected Central American leader of the gang.
"These individuals are heavily involved in directing and participating in illicit activity, such as drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion and murder," Treasury Department officials said in a statement.
The department identified the six suspected leaders as Moris Bercian Manchon, 28; Jose Misael Cisneros Rodriguez, 36; Marvin Geovanny Monterrosa-Larios, 35; Moises Humberto Rivera-Luna, 44; Saul Antonio Turcios Angel, 35; and Borromeo Enrique Henriquez Solorzano, 34. Solarzano is the reputed Central American leader of the gang, according to federal authorities.
Federal authorities said Wednesday that MS-13 has tens of thousands of members and is "one of the most dangerous criminal gangs in the world today."
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