British Columbia

Violent MS-13 gang already operating in B.C., say police

Police in British Columbia are concerned about the presence in the province of what's being called the most dangerous gang in North America.

Police in British Columbia are concerned about the presence in the province of what's being called the most dangerous gang in North America.

On Wednesday, Toronto police arrested 17 people who they say are suspected members of Mara Salvatrucha-13 — also known as MS-13 — a gang with roots in El Salvador that operates throughout Central America, southern Mexico and the United States.

But Sgt. Shinder Kirk, with B.C.'s Integrated Gang Task Force, said there's at least one member of MS-13 already operating in the province, which is enough to warrant scrutiny.

"We are taking steps to get out ahead of these groups — particularly this group — not only by having one of our investigators go down to Central America and liaise with law enforcement down there," said Kirk on Thursday.

MS-13 has already branched out across Canada, which is why the gang task force is so focused on stunting its growth, said Kirk.

"We also had a gang conference up here and we had investigators from [Central America] come here and talk to us about their experiences down there," said Kirk.

The gang with a reputation for extreme violence has an estimated 30,000 members across the U.S. and Central America. It's alleged to have been established by former members of El Salvadoran death squads, who immigrated to Los Angeles in the 1980s.

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