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35 of 214 suspected MS-13 members arrested nationwide were from Maryland

35 of 214 suspected MS-13 members arrested nationwide were from Maryland (File Image)

On Tuesday, federal immigration officials announced they had arrested more than 200 suspected MS-13 gang members in about a month, with the D.C. region being one of the biggest hotspots in the country.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says 214 suspected MS-13 members were arrested in the U.S. between October 8 and November 11.

Of those 214, ICE says 35 were from Maryland – nearly one in six.

ICE says the gang members arrested nationwide committed crimes ranging from illegally entering the U.S. to murder.

"ICE does a good job in trying to get these guys out of her. But the one thing about MS-13 -- and we learned this early -- is that they come back,” said Tony Avendorph, a consultant who spent a large part of his 40 years in law enforcement—half of which were in Prince George’s County—going after gangs.

Avendorph says although MS-13 is rightfully well-known for its violence, what may surprise many people is how organized it is.

"That's what law enforcement has to understand,” he said. “That they're intelligent, they know what they're doing, and they're organized."

Avendorph says members of the East Coast branch of MS-13 get their orders from El Salvador.

He says fighting the gang successfully will take a lot of cooperation between federal and local law enforcement.

ICE says out of the 214 arrested, 16 were U.S. citizens and five were in the country legally. But the other 193—more than 90 percent—are believed to have been in the U.S. illegally.

The majority of the suspected MS-13 members arrested are from El Salvador—135 are from that country, while smaller numbers are from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. Four are from Ecuador and one is from Costa Rica.

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