US targets leaders of violent street gang MS-13

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is levying financial sanctions against six individual leaders of an ultra-violent street gang already designated an international criminal group.

The six men are believed to be among leaders of MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha (MAR-uh sal-vuh-TRUE-cha), a sprawling U.S. and Central American street gang most infamous for using machetes to hack and stab victims.

The Treasury Department declared MS-13 a transnational criminal organization last year. It is the first international street gang to be so designated.

The designation is intended to keep the gang from using the U.S. financial system and allows the government to seize what are estimated to be millions of dollars in profits from drug and human smuggling and other crimes.