January 6, 2005
WAR: Boston Street Gang Linked to Al Qaeda
An ominous development: the Boston Herald reported yesterday that federal law enforcement agencies have warned the Boston police that an East Boston street gang with roots in El Salvador is cooperating with Al Qaeda:
A burgeoning East Boston-based street gang made up of alleged rapists and machete-wielding robbers has been linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist network, prompting Boston police to ``turn up the heat'' on its members, the Herald has learned.
MS-13, which stands for La Mara Salvatrucha, is an extremely violent organization with roots in El Salvador, and boasts more than 100 ``hardcore members'' in East Boston who are suspected of brutal machete attacks, rapes and home invasions. There are hundreds more MS-13 gangsters in towns along the North Shore, said Boston police Sgt. Detective Joseph Fiandaca, who has investigated the gang since it began tagging buildings in Maverick Square in 1995.
In recent months, intelligence officials in Washington have warned national law enforcement agencies that al-Qaeda terrorists have been spotted with members of MS-13 in El Salvador, prompting concerns the gang may be smuggling Islamic fundamentalist terrorists into the country. Law enforcement officials have long believed that MS-13 controls alien smuggling routes along Mexico.
The warning is being taken seriously in East Boston, where Raed Hijazi, an al-Qaeda operative charged with training the suicide bombers in the attack on the USS Cole, lived and worked, prosecutors have charged.
The theory that Salvadoran criminals manage to smuggle people over the border was bolstered this month when two Boston men described as MS-13 leaders were spotted on the North Shore days before Christmas - a year after they were deported by Boston Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators for gang-related crimes.
Read the whole thing. Of course, while I'm generally pro-immigration, the connection between control of smuggling of illegal immigrants from Mexico and smuggling of Al Qaeda terrorists across the border is enough to give even the most ardent open-borders types pause.
Actually, the 'war' on illegal immigration produces the same results as the 'war' on drugs. People wishing to enter the US for legitimate, usually economic, reasons have to become criminals and put themselves in the hands of a mafia that knows how to get around the restrictions. Just as people who want to ingest certain substances (fools IMHO) have to buy from criminals at inflated prices. I doubt very much that illegal immigrants (they would not have risked so much to get here if they wanted to blow us up) in general or drug users (they would not be reliable agents) would hook up with al Qaeda; but the criminal gangs who smuggle drugs and illegal immigrants are in it for the money, so it would not be surprising that they have a price for anything.