Leader of MS-13 gang, known as part of ‘Twelve Apostles of the Devil,’ arrested on terror charges in Texas

News & Politics

A top leader of the El Salvadorian MS-13 crime gang was arrested in Texas after being on the run for three years, according to a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York.

Federal prosecutors said that Cesar Humberto Lopez-Larios was arrested by the FBI and Homeland Security on Sunday when he arrived at the George Bush Airport in Houston, Texas.

‘MS-13 has spilled so much blood and turned communities into war zones.’

Lopez-Larios is allegedly a top leader of the violent criminal gang and was identified as one of the founding members of the “Twelve Apostles of the Devil,” although the group has grown to 14 since its inception.

“Lopez-Larios is charged with conspiracy to provide and conceal material support to terrorists, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiracy to finance terrorism, and narco-terrorism conspiracy,” read the statement.

He is accused of helping operate the criminal organization in El Salvador, Mexico, and the United States along with 13 other co-defendants who ordered acts of violence and murder.

“The arrest of Lopez-Larios, who is one of the most senior leaders of MS-13 in the world, is a significant achievement for law enforcement and another crucial step in the dismantling of this international criminal enterprise,” read a statement from U.S. Attorney Breon Peace. “The defendant will soon face a reckoning in a federal courtroom on Long Island where, acting on his orders, MS-13 has spilled so much blood and turned communities into war zones.”

Two gang associates remain at large, and officials are offering $20,000 for information leading to their arrest and conviction.

MS-13, short for Mara Salvatrucha, was founded by immigrants from El Salvador in the 1980s in Los Angeles, California. Originally, the crime organization helped protect Salvadorian immigrants from other gangs in southern California, but it has spread to Latin America.

“MS-13 has committed murders, attempted murders, assaults, kidnappings, drug trafficking, extortion of individuals and businesses, and obstruction of justice, and has sent dues and the proceeds of criminal activity by wire transfer to MS-13 leaders in El Salvador,” said the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

MS-13 gang members have been convicted for horrendously evil crimes in the U.S. In one instance from April 2023, a man with links to the crime gang murdered an Uber Eats driver and dismembered him in Florida.

“This is demonic. This individual is, what he did, was demonic,” said Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco in a media briefing at the time.

Former President Donald Trump has used the terror gang as an example to warn Americans about the threat of unvetted immigration at the southern border. Democrats have accused him of being motivated by racism and claim that he has exaggerated the threat in order to smear immigrants and spark up xenophobic hatred.

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