WASHINGTON (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – The US Treasury Department on Wednesday imposed fines on two members of the international criminal gang MS-13, accusing them of involvement in drug trafficking and murder in Central America and the United States.
The sanctions against the two individuals — an MS-13 leader in Honduras and an associate of the gang in Nicaragua — are part of a larger U.S. government effort to disrupt the group’s operations and funding, the department said. in a note.
“The Treasury’s sanctions against MS-13 are aimed at disrupting its use of the financial system to launder ill-gotten proceeds,” Department official Brian E. Nelson said.
The leader in Honduras, Archaga Caria, distributed cocaine from that country into the United States and ordered the murders of rival gang members, the department said.
Caria, also known as “Porky,” has escaped from prison in Honduras and is a fugitive from U.S. and Honduran law enforcement agencies, he added. The department is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest or conviction, he said.
MS-13 associate Campbell Licona has used businesses owned or controlled by the gang to launder drug proceeds, including through U.S. banks, the department said. He is currently being held in Nicaragua, he added.
Washington has tried to increase pressure on MS-13 in recent years. US authorities have charged MS-13’s top leaders with terrorism, called for the death penalty for a leader accused of murder, and pressured El Salvador to extradite the leaders of the wanted group.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Bernadette Baum)