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U.S labels MS-13 street gang ‘criminal organization’

Federal authorities Thursday designated the notorious Mara Salvatrucha MS-13 as a “transnational criminal organization,” giving federal authorities more tools to fight the street gang that has its roots in Los Angeles.

Under the designation, federal officials said they can now seize assets of gang members found within the United States jurisdiction.

The designation is the first for a U.S. street gang. Among the organizations similarly designated are Japan’s Yakuza and Mexico’s Zetas, whose leader, Heriberto Lazcano, was killed by Mexican Marines on Sunday. An armed gang later stole his body from a funeral parlor.

The administration is targeting the economic core of MS-13 and the individuals who work with, enable or support it by freezing any assets that those individuals may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

In 2005 Los Angeles Times photographer Luis Sinco photographed members of MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha in Los Angeles and El Salvador to document the role of U.S. deportation policies.

Read more: Feds target gang born in L.A.