Repeating a refrain he's often used as he's promoted the Justice Department's anti-gang campaign around the country, Sessions said that while MS-13's motto is "kill, rape and control", the Department has "a motto too: justice for victims and consequences for criminals".
The involved law-enforcement groups include the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "Just last month", Sessions said, "the Department of Justice, along with our partners in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras - most of this happening in Central America - announced criminal charges against more than 3800 gang members operating across the United States and Central America".
"Now they will go after MS-13 with a renewed vigor and a sharpened focus", Sessions said at the annual conference of IACP in Philadelphia.
Members of the gang are suspected of committing several high-profile killings in New York, Maryland and Virginia.
Handcuffed inmates, members of MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs, wait upon arrival at the maximum security prison in Zacatecoluca, 65 kilometres east of San Salvador, on August 9, 2017. Gang activity has also been reported in the Washington, DC, area.
The extent to which Sessions and Trump have focused on the gang has drawn criticism from local police leaders and civil rights advocates, who say such hard-line tactics discourage undocumented immigrants from cooperating with investigators. MS-13, or La Mara Salvatrucha, is generally known for extortion and violence rather than distributing and selling narcotics.