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Officials: MS-13 gang member arrested south of Tucson

Accused MS-13 gang member Jorge Antonio Avila-Rodas (Photo courtesy Tucson Sector Public Affairs Office)

PHOENIX — According to officials, five men were apprehended for illegally entering the United States south of Tucson Saturday night.

Officials said one of those caught was a MS-13 gang member.

The Tucson Sector Border Patrol nabbed the five men about 12 miles south of Arivaca, Arizona, and identified one of them as Jorge Antonio Avila-Rodas.

Border patrol said Avila-Rodas, a 34-year-old Honduran national, was a MS-13 gang member who had first- and second-degree felony burglary convictions in Oregon and immigration violations.

Officials said he now faces federal criminal charges for re-entry of a felon.

MS-13 is a gang that started in Los Angeles but has expanded to nearly every state and El Salvador. The gang is blamed for horrific violence that has sent Salvadoran immigrants fleeing that country for the United States.

MS-13 has become a primary target of the Justice and Homeland Security departments amid the Trump administration’s broader effort to crack down on illegal immigration and violent crime. President Donald Trump and members of his administration have repeatedly said MS-13 poses a particular risk to American communities and is among the most ruthless street gangs.

Trump signed an executive order in February specifically directing federal law enforcement to focus resources on combating street gangs and transnational criminal organizations.

MS-13 leaders in El Salvador were targeted for financial sanctions by the Obama administration in 2012 as part of an earlier executive order targeting such groups.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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