On his Thursday night Fox News show, Tucker Carlson addressed the growing threat of the criminal gang MS-13. He described the gang, whose series of horrific crimes have failed to garner the consistent national media attention they deserve, as "a far greater threat to your life than ISIS is."
During the segment's first half, he went to Trace Gallagher for the latest on the murders of four 16-20 year-old males on Long Island containing the signature earmarks of MS-13 executions.
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Gallagher described the official cause of the deaths as "significant trauma throughout their bodies." In other words, he said, "They were tortured, beaten and cut in such gruesome fashion that the crimes stood out as signature killings of MS-13." Further, the site of these murders "is not far from where the bodies of three teens, including two 16 year-old girls, were found back in September" who "suffered similar horrific deaths."
Gallagher also cited the existence of many other Long Island crimes related to MS-13, including a man who had been deported four times who is now charged with "sexually assaulting a two-year old girl" and "stabbing two women, including the child's mother." He also showed Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini making a statement to which we will later return: "We've made hundreds of arrests, but this is a long-term war."
Carlson then began his commentary. The video below begins about 15 seconds in.
After the host described ISIS as "the gold standard for awful" (implied worldwide), he began to give U.S. viewers a much-needed reality check:
Transcript (links to other murders added by me; bolds are mine):
On the other hand, it (ISIS) is nothing compared to MS-13. That organization, a mostly immigrant street gang, is a far greater threat to your life than ISIS is. It's the numbers.
And it's not just that the bodies pileup in smaller numbers, and the coverage isn't as splashy, when they're covered at all, because often they're not.
Beside the four killings you just heard about in New York today, there's Raymond Wood. He's the Lynchburg teenager apparently murdered and left by the side of the road two weeks ago by a group of MS-13 members (all of them are here illegally by the way).
There's Kayla Cuevas and Lisa Mickins, a pair of teenage girls butchered with machetes by MS-13. They were walking home from school in Brentwood, New York. (Note: This is the same September case to which Gallagher referred earlier. — Ed.)
We could go on and on and on, and in future editions of the show, we will.
But killing is not the end of the problem with MS-13. Its members have been caught running child prostitution rings. They've been contacted by Mexican drug cartels and paid to run torture operations. And of course they engage in the usual extortion, drug trafficking, and human smuggling.
But unlike ISIS, MS-13 makes it hard to live in certain neighborhoods here in this country. Also unlike ISIS, there are a lot of them. ISIS may have significant passive support in the US, and a lot of us suspect it does. But true active ISIS members, pretty small, maybe a few hundred at most. MS-13, By contrast, has at least 6,000 members, according to the government, in this country. And are supported by more than 30,000 abroad. Yes abroad, because MS-13 is fundamentally a foreign threat.
Now the administration is using a lot of firepower to defeat insurgents in the Middle East right now, and good for them. But what about the insurgency right down the road from you here in America? Because that's exactly what it is.
In the Raymond Wood murder Carlson mentioned, one of his accused killers was also "wanted for a murder in Maryland." That suspect, Jose Coreas Ventura, is now the fifth person who has been arrested in the death of 18 year-old Cristan Antonio Villagran-Morales last June. According to the Washington Post's coverage at the time, the group began their plot by having one of the five accused, a female, lure the victim into a park with a promise of sex.
A quite salient fact is that the Maryland murder took place in Montgomery County, which functions as a de facto sanctuary county even though it claims not to. It's also the same county where two illegal-immigrant teens allegedly raped a 14 year-old girl at Rockville High School in a story which briefly went national in March but which the establishment press completely kept out of broadcast network coverage.
Prosecutors now "have photos of the (two suspects in that case) ... flashing MS-13 gang signs." The pair deny gang membership — which is interesting, given that there is often a violent price to pay for pretending to be a gang member when you're not.
In what should surprise no one, Montgomery County has a huge MS-13 problem. The June Washington Post story even told readers why:
In 2014, after years of relative quiet for the gang, FBI officials noted an upswing in violence. Experts attributed part of the resurgence to gang leaders in El Salvador attempting to reconstitute operations here in order to make more money.
In a report written last month, Montgomery police officials cited another factor for the renewal: the wave of teenagers migrating, without parents, from the gang violence of El Salvador and other Central American countries.
It’s not necessarily that the teenagers are arriving as hardcore gang members, but what seems clear, (Montgomery Co. Police Department’s Special Investigations Division director Paul) Liquorie said, is that by the time the teenagers get to Montgomery County, they often are isolated, broke, unable to speak English — and prime targets for area MS-13 members.
The 2014 "upswing" in crime is no coincidence, as "The number of unaccompanied minors (also known as UACs) crossing the U.S.-Mexico border increased 90 percent between 2013 and 2014." The wave subsided to a still-unacceptable level in the fiscal year ended September 30, 2015, and returned to the 2014 level during the next fiscal year, arguably encouraged by the Obama administration's immigration-related executive orders.
All told, roughly 72,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border during those three years. Very few were deported.
This brings us to Carlson's estimate of 6,000 U.S. MS-13 gang members. His figure agrees with a March 3 CNN.com item claiming that that the gang has "6,000 members in at least 46 states and the District of Columbia."
That estimate is probably extremely low, for at least three reasons.
First, a research paper published in January 2009 showed a far higher number. In that paper, found in Gonzaga University's Journal of International Law, Casey Covacik, who blamed aggressive U.S. deportation policies in the twentieth century's final decade for MS-13's growth in Central America, quoted a 2005 Los Angeles Times report estimating that "the gang now operates in 33 states with roughly 10,000 members in the United States." Earlier verbiage in that same document had the FBI claiming "10,000 members in 42 states."
Second, recall Suffolk County Police Commissioner Sini's reference to "hundreds of arrests" of MS-13 members in his county alone. His single county thus appears to have more MS-13 members who have been arrested than the government estimates are present in the average state (6,000 divided by 47, including DC, is only 128). Imagine how many hundreds are still active and at large in Suffolk County alone.
Third, that gang membership could have declined by 40 percent (from 10,000 to 6,000) during the past eight years is virtually impossible, given the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children who have crossed the border combined with the disgracefully poor handing of the related Office of Refugee Resettlement program.
Carlson needs to keep after this. Given the nature and actual size of the threat, he has a lot of work to do to even partially offset the poor media coverage he cited.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.