Federal authorities Friday in Dallas announced indictments for eight alleged MS-13 gang members on a range of criminal charges including racketeering, attempted murder and assault with a dangerous weapon.
Seven of the men are in custody and one is still at large.
The charges stem from a spree of six violent attacks committed last summer against rival gang members in Irving and Dallas. The men allegedly used machetes, knives, metal bats, guns and, in one case, a sledgehammer. Ten people were injured.
“Their trademark is violence,” Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said of MS-13. “They are required to commit acts of violence in order to be involved in the gang and participate as gang members. One of the principal rules is that its members must attack and kill rivals. It’s cold and calculating and ruthless.”
The transnational gang, which originated in Los Angeles and now operates throughout Central and North America, has gained notoriety for its members' brutality. President Donald Trump regularly singles them out as a particular threat; though critics say he exaggerates the gang's actual numbers and impact.
Cox says several violent gangs are operating in North Texas, but that it’s hard to say how widespread MS-13 is in the area.
According to the indictment, the eight men were allegedly members of a local branch, or "clique," of the gang, called the Irving Loco Salvatruches. Officials say the men could face decades in prison if convicted. And because all eight are in the country illegally, they’d likely be deported after they serve their time.
The arrests were the result of a multi-agency investigation that included Irving and Dallas police departments, the Dallas County District Attorney's office, Homeland Security Investigations and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.