At the Texas border with Mexico, there has been a spike in apprehensions involving the ultra-violent Central American cartel, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
"Stunningly, and disturbingly, there's been an increase of more than 200 percent of MS-13 coming across the border," Texas Governor Greg Abbott said during a visit to National Guard troops at Weslaco, Texas on April 12.
Since then, reports from Customs Border Protection continue to roll in. The latest was July 10th.
"In two different incidents, Falfurrias agents arrested 3 Salvadoran nationals. All of the subjects’ records revealed that they are active members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang," a press release reads.
On July 5th, Weslaco agents caught a Salvadoran national who made a claim of fear to being deported back to his native country. During processing, it was confirmed the man is was a member of the MS-13 gang.
On July 7th, Kingsville agents arrested a Salvadoran national near Sarita, Texas. Record checks confirmed that he was an MS-13 gang member.
But cartel expert Dr. Guadalupe Correa, at George Mason University's School of Policy and Government, warns against jumping to conclusions.
She says Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, is not invading Texas.
"The operations of MS-13 in United States are very different from MS-13 in Central America," she says.
Correa, who is researching the gang, says that in El Salvador, MS-13 operates on a different level because of a corrupt government. Their brutal style of kidnappings, murder and forced payments go unchecked.
Here, she says MS-13 is merely a street gang that makes little profits from selling drugs on the streets. She says many of the MS-13 in America come here with families and, once here, fall in with other El Salvadorians. Others come here escaping the gang and, with forced membership, would explain why border crossers with tattoos are unfairly stereotyped.
This year, the numbers of MS-13 arrests at the border are small. There were about 123 cases out of the more than 66,000 apprehensions in that sector.
Nationwide, the Border Patrol says 181 of its arrests were MS-13 gang members during a six-month period.
And, while they are crossing the border in Texas, the street gang has the most power on the east coast. Earlier this month in Baltimore, 24-alleged gang members were racketeering, murder and money laundering conspiracies.
“We will not allow MS-13 and its members or their affiliates to bring their nefarious and deadly activities into our neighborhoods,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant. “I am proud of the dedicated agents who have duly executed their duties in our collective pursuit of law, order and justice.”
PHOTO' BORDER PATROL