A member of the notorious MS-13 gang has just been added to the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list.
Juan Elias Garcia is wanted for allegedly murdering a 19-year-old woman, Vanessa Argueta, and her 2-year-old son in New York in 2010. He’s also known as “Cruzito.”
Garcia was reportedly dating Argueta, who had ties to two of MS-13’s principal rival gangs, according to the FBI. The rival gang members allegedly threatened Garcia, spurring him and other MS-13 members to retaliate, the FBI says.
He’s now at large, and the FBI is offering a reward of up to $US100,000 for any information leading directly to his arrest.
MS-13 is one of the most sophisticated criminal organisations in the Western Hemisphere. The gang began in Los Angeles about 20 years ago with Salvadoran refugees who fled civil war in their country. It has about 10,000 members in the U.S.
The gang recruits aggressively, targeting school-aged kids as young as 10 years old.
MS-13 is involved in extortion, firearms trafficking, human trafficking, and many other criminal enterprises. The gang is known for its particularly gruesome crimes.
Because many of the gang’s founding members were former soldiers who were familiar with guerrilla warfare, they were able to quickly become more sophisticated than their rival gangs. Their ties to El Salvador also give them access to advanced weapons.
In October 2012, federal authorities labelled MS-13 a “transnational criminal organisation.” It was the first-ever street gang to receive this designation.
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