Feds : Deadly Atlanta Gang Dismantled

Feds: Deadly Atlanta Gang Dismantled
Dozens Of Hispanic MS-13 Gang Members In Jail

By Steve Kuzj
The CBS Atlanta News, March 5, 2010

Atlanta — One of Atlanta's largest and deadliest gang families is in pieces.

A two-year operation has led to the arrest and indictment of more than 70 members of the MS-13 gang.

With many of them in jail, authorities said the streets of Atlanta will be a lot safer now, but this gang has had a large presence in the metro area for years.

CBS Atlanta News first told you about the Mara Salvatrucha gang, or MS-13, in 2007. Police described them as a growing problem, known for their random acts of violence and brutality.

Their dangerous reputation is one reason federal and local law enforcement agencies were so excited to announce a major blow dealt to the gang Thursday.

'In total, 71 MS-13 gang members have been taken off the streets due to coordinated efforts of federal and local law enforcement,' said Acting U.S. District Attorney Sally Yates. 'Through these efforts, MS-13 in the Atlanta area is being dismantled.'

The MS-13 crackdown was an operation two years in the making, involving both local and national law enforcement agencies.

Authorities say the gang is responsible for murders, shootings, assaults and dozens of other crimes in the metro area.

'Many previously unsolved cases including murders, assaults and robberies are now solved. Victims who suffered at the hands of these criminals will now have closure,' said Special Agent Kenneth Smith of Atlantas Immigration Customs and Enforcement.

Suspected gang members are already having court hearings.

Yates said what makes MS-13 so dangerous is their extreme level of unpredictable violence.

'They traded in fear, but their violence wasn't limited to rival gangs, rather their violence was chillingly indiscriminate,' said Yates.

Authorities said although they have eliminated a large part of the gang in the Atlanta area, they still have a ways to go.

'From our perspective, this is not the end. This is a serious blow to MS-13, but the battle will continue,' said Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter.


Officials say arrests mark major victory against violent street gang
By Eric Stirgus and Bill Torpy
The Atlanta Journal Constitution, March 4, 2010