The cutthroat gang's reign of terror in NY - which included the slaughter of four young men on Long Island - particularly grabbed Sessions' attention when the victims' bodies were discovered in April.
"MS-13 threatens the lives and well-being of each and every family and each and every neighborhood that they infest", Sessions told a meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, per NBC Philadelphia. MS-13 has its roots in Central American-based gangs that Sessions says are part of a growing threat of worldwide criminal organizations which must be stopped.
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The new designation allows Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces to dismantle MS-13 using tax laws, drug laws, gun laws, and "anything else that will cripple the gang". He said MS-13 is "based in El Salvador, but whose tentacles reach across Central America, Europe, through forty U.S. States, and to within yards of the U.S. Capitol".
Sessions has focused intense attention on the gang since he was sworn into office in February after being appointed by President Donald Trump. MS-13, or La Mara Salvatrucha, is generally known for extortion and violence rather than distributing and selling narcotics. Law enforcement officials say gang members operate in "cliques" in at least 40 states and engage in a wide range of criminal activity from illegal drug distribution to money laundering and a string of grisly homicides.
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Capone was never indicted on racketeering charges, and was ultimately imprisoned on charges of income tax evasion in 1931.
Local police expect protests to be held outside the event. A top MS-13 leader in the Central American country, Edwin Manica Flores, called a meeting of USA gang leaders from at least seven states in 2015 to urge them to work together and to order them to send money back to El Salvador.
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MS-13 gangs in the USA take orders from and send money back to top leaders in El Salvador, according to wiretapped conversations disclosed in recent indictments. "What we are asking is total cooperation", Flores said on the call, which federal investigators recorded secretly.