Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Monday new initiatives to combat MS-13, the transnational drug gang that has been a major target of President Donald Trump’s criminal justice agenda.
Speaking to the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Philadelphia, Sessions announced the designation of MS-13 as a focus of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF).
“They will go after MS-13 with a renewed vigor and a sharpened focus. I am announcing that I have authorized them to use every lawful tool to investigate MS-13—not just our drug laws, but everything from RICO to our tax laws to our firearms laws. Just like we took Al Capone off the streets with our tax laws, we will use whatever laws we have to get MS-13 off of our streets,” Sessions said.
First established in 1982, OCDETF has been described as “the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s long-term intra- and inter-agency drug enforcement strategy.” It works by unifying the variety of federal “alphabet” agencies to focus on international drug trafficking and money laundering, a mission that includes the dismantling of transnational criminal cartels. MS-13 has been designated as such since 2012.