Immigrants in Sanctuary City Suspected of Being in Violent MS-13 Gang Are Indicted

As reported by the New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal grand jury in California indicted 12 men suspected of being members of the violent MS-13 gang on charges that include murder, extortion, arson and drug trafficking, authorities said.

The men indicted Thursday in San Jose lived in Santa Cruz — a sanctuary city — and their victims included immigrants from El Salvador living in the area, prosecutors said.

Members of the gang would meet to discuss who had an interest in killing certain targets, authorities said.

"They instilled fear in everyone who experienced or witnessed their brutality," U. S. Attorney Alex G. Tse said.

The charges mark the latest development in a case that created a rift between federal and local authorities involving Santa Cruz's sanctuary city policy.

The defendants were arrested in early 2017 as part of a five-year investigation involving federal and local law enforcement agencies. Local authorities later said they were duped into helping make immigration arrests, violating the city's sanctuary law.