MS-13 gang now present in almost every state

Published: Mar. 31, 2017 at 8:19 PM EDT
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While many people in western Virginia might not have heard about MS-13 before this week, the gang has long been on the radar screen of law enforcement agencies here in Virginia and around the country.

According to the FBI, the gang continues to expand its influence in the U.S. and is now active in almost every state.

The Justice Department reports that MS-13 is one of the largest criminal organizations in the country, with over 6,000 members, many of whom are immigrants and descendants of immigrants from El Salvador.

The FBI says gang members engage in a wide range of criminal activity, with extreme violence a common theme.

We contacted police departments in Lynchburg, Danville and Roanoke, and they reported similar information.

They have not identified any MS-13 members currently operating in their cities. They say that doesn't mean they aren't there, just that investigators haven't documented their presence yet.