A high-ranking member of the international criminal gang MS-13 was arrested in Houston after arriving at George Bush Intercontinental Airport last week.
The FBI announced in a press release that Elmer Canales-Rivera, aka Crook de Hollywood, was arrested on November 9 and will be transferred to New York.
Canales-Rivera and 13 other members of MS-13 were indicted in the Eastern District of New York in December 2020. The press release claims Canales-Rivera and his co-defendants allegedly “play significant leadership roles in the organization’s operations in El Salvador, Mexico, the United States, and throughout the world.”
The FBI alleged that in 2002, the defendants began establishing “a highly-organized, hierarchical command and control structure as a means to effectuate their decisions and enforce their orders, even while in prison.”
Breon Peace, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, claimed that Canales-Rivera and his co-defendants acted “as a board of directors, directing acts of violence, intimidation, and material support of terrorists in El Salvador and throughout the United States.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland said the arrest should “serve as a warning to MS-13’s other leaders that the Justice Department will hold you accountable for your crimes.”
“We allege that Elmer Canales-Rivera, a founding member of MS-13’s ‘Twelve Apostles of the Devil,’ bears responsibility for the gang’s efforts over decades to terrorize communities, target law enforcement, and sow violence here in the United States and abroad,” Garland said, per the press release.
Canales-Rivera has been charged with conspiracy to provide and conceal material support to terrorists, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiracy to finance terrorism, and narco-terrorism conspiracy.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in the press release that the arrest of Canales-Rivera highlights how “there is no hiding place for leaders of criminal syndicates that threaten our communities.”
If convicted, Canales-Rivera would face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Locally here in Dallas, crime has remained high throughout 2023, as there have been 96,374 crimes reported this year as of Wednesday, including 8,712 violent crimes, according to the Dallas crime analytics overview dashboard.
The Dallas Police Department is also facing a shortage of officers, with fewer than 3,200 sworn personnel on staff, despite a City report stating that 4,000 officers are needed to adequately patrol a city the size of Dallas.
The effects of the officer shortage are apparent in Downtown Dallas, where criminal activity remains high, especially when compared to Fort Worth’s city center, which is patrolled by a designated neighborhood police unit working alongside private security guards.