LOS ANGELES – Federal racketeering, murder and other charges were filed against 22 suspected MS-13 gang members who law enforcement officials believe are linked to a series of grisly killings involving baseball bats, machetes and other tools of “medieval-style” violence, authorities said Tuesday.
Nineteen of those indicted are considered illegal immigrants, and most of the group’s members arrived in the U.S. in the past four years from Central America. All but two are under the age of 24, Nicola Hanna, the U.S. Attorney for Los Angeles, announced at a news conference. Most, he added, participated in the “killing spree.”
The arrests – the last came over the weekend – capped a two-year investigation.
While President Donald Trump has singled out MS-13 as a threat to public safety in the making the case for tighter security along the Mexican border, Hanna said the defendants mostly preyed upon other recent immigrants who they believed were rivals.
MS-13 “has been named as one of the top five transnational threats to the U.S.,” Hanna said. “MS-13 has spread like a cancer … throughout the U.S.”
Those arrested were all part of the so-called Fulton clique of MS-13, one of the most violent of about 20 factions of MS-13 operating in the Los Angeles area, Hanna said. The clique operated primarily in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley…