El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala stage mass raids on MS-13, 18th Street gangs

Border Crime

Salvadoran Police arrest multiple gang members in Operation Regional Shield. (Photo courtesy of El Salvador Attorney General’s Office via U.S. Department of Justice).

SAN SALVADOR, El Savador (AP) — The Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have rounded up hundreds of suspected street gang members as part of a U.S.-backed effort known as “Operation Regional Shield.”

The attorney general’s office in El Salvador has taken the lead, reporting that it obtained arrest warrants for 1,152 suspects, of whom 572 had been arrested by Friday.

The weeklong effort particularly targeted members of the Barrio 18 and MS-13 gangs, which operate in all three countries. Most of those arrested face charges ranging from extortion and kidnapping to murder.

The U.S. Department of Justice noted that authorities in El Salvador and Honduras arrested three dozen suspected immigrant traffickers. Those arrested in Honduras immigrant smuggling ring include a police commissioner, a deputy inspector and three other law enforcement agents.

Members of the 18th Street gang are arrested in Operation Regional Shield. (Photo courtesy of El Salvador Attorney General’s Office via U.S. Department of Justice).

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