BRENTWOOD, New York-- President Donald Trump spoke to law enforcement officers this afternoon, warning of an uptick in violence from the largest criminal organization in the country, MS-13.
MS-13 has more than 30,000 members internationally, with gang affiliations in both Illinois and Iowa. Friday, President Trump pledged to wipe them out.
Speaking in an area of New York often targeted by gangs, the President said MS-13 member have stabbed, raped, and murdered young people and "transformed peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighborhoods into blood-stained killing fields."
The gang formed in Los Angeles decades ago, with ties to El Salvador and Honduras.
President Trump says strong leadership and a border wall will help eradicate MS-13 and the problem of illegal immigration.
"We're going to destroy the vile criminal cartel MS-13 and many other gangs," Trump told officers. "But MS-13 is particularly violent. They don't like shooting people because it's too quick. It's too fast."
The President continued, "But the start of construction for a great border wall and we're going to build it the wall is vital and vital is a tool for ending the humanitarian disaster brought and brought on by drug smugglers."
MS-13 has 10,000 members spread across the U.S., in cities including Chicago, Illinois and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.