HOUSTON (AP) — Law enforcement officials have arrested about a dozen alleged members of MS-13 in multiple Houston-area slayings of people associated with the notoriously violent gang.
Local, state and federal agencies gathered with prosecutors Tuesday to announce the arrests. The gang has been involved in five Houston deaths since June, including the killing of a confidential informant with a machete, according to officials. Only one victim had no connection to the gang, authorities said.
“We all recognize that we have to bring a stop to this type of violence that’s occurring not just in our city but in cities across the country,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Houston will not let any illegal, dangerous gang continue to threaten the peace and reputation of our city.”
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo called MS-13 the most violent gang in the area, noting that authorities are ramping up efforts to arrest its members. Houston has about 20,000 total gang members, about 400 of whom are in MS-13, Acevedo said. The state’s Gulf Coast region has about 800 MS-13 members, he estimated.
Coordinated law enforcement operations aim to reduce the number of gang members in the area and curb violence, said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.
“They’re taking down dozens of gang members,” Ogg said. “Not just the murderers themselves, but their support units, and I think that’s going to have a disproportionate impact. This is going to hurt them.”