Law enforcement agents in New Jersey continue to battle with gang violence as 14 suspected members from the international MS-13 gang are arrested in Plainfield.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman (David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)

While New Jersey has been struggling with well-known gangs like the Bloods and Crips permeating more urban and suburban communities, US Attorney Paul says international gangs are becoming more prevalent-largely in part to better technology.

"It's somewhat a cliché to say, but globalization doesn't just affect the business community, it affects the gang community as well. It's easier to communicate, it's easier to move money back and forth, and as a result, gangs are much more mobile than they used to be."

MS-13, which stands for Mara Salvatrucha, is a South American criminal organization with heavy ties to El Salvator. Fishman says one of the reason the 14 suspected members settled in Plainfield was because of the towns Salvadorian community.

"This is a gang that started in LA, in the Salvadorian community. As people were deported back to El Salvador and then came back to other places in the US, the gang spread."

Fishman points out the Northeast and Southwest are two concentrated areas of MS-13 activity. He adds what makes the gang dangerous is unlike other gangs, MS-13's primary business is violence.

"It does drugs, it does kidnappings, it does robberies, but a lot of what the gang is about is violence and reinforcing its connection to its other members through that," Fishman explained.

Noting unlike more traditional gangs, the MS-13 doesn't respect borders of communities or otherwise.

"They don't respect the borders of neighborhoods, towns, states, or even countries."

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