BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A Maryland sheriff says he’s glad to be a part of President Donald Trump’s war on the infamously ruthless and dangerous MS-13 gang.
The president recently met with several top law enforcement officials from the region, including Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins.
Sheriff Jenkins is confident that meetings will lead to the demise of the violent gang.
MS-13 has a well established history of brutal violence along the East Coast, including in Maryland, and they have shown no signs of slowing down.
The gang, which has strong ties to El Salvador, has been connected to a series of heinous crimes in Montgomery, Anne Arundel, and Frederick Counties to name a few.
“We’ve seem everything from aggravated assault, assault on police officers, rape of young teenage girls, we’ve seen brutal beheadings we’ve seen everything here in Frederick County,” Sheriff Jenkins said.
Sheriff Jenkins was one of several top law enforcement officials that met with President Trump Tuesday to discuss the growing threat of the MS-13 gang across the region.
“Not another country in the world has the stupidity of laws we do when it comes to immigration,” President Trump said in a previous speaking engagement.
The gang has also been referred to “as animals” by President Trump.
“He basically declared war on MS-13. He’s serious, he’s going to bring the full force of federal law enforcement down on them and it’s going to involve local law enforcement and I think it should,” Sheriff Jenkins said.
Frederick County already screens for violent illegal immigrants once arrested, a program in partnership with immigration and customs enforcement that Harford County entered into a little more than a year ago.
“These are offenders who are not only in the country here illegally but have committed acts that the federal government feels that that shouldn’t be returned to the community,” said Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler.
Immigration advocates are condemning the program.
“There’s sort of this extra fear that immigrants will go further into the shadows and won’t participate,” said Elizabeth Alex of CASA. “This type of propaganda coming out of the White House really demonizing immigrants.”
Wednesday the group CASA in Action” criticized Sheriff Jenkins of racial profiling in a statement to WJZ.
“His crocodile tears about MS-13 are a cover — and that he’s driving the victims of their violence further underground.”
Sheriff Jenkins says in Frederick County, there’s no indication members of the immigrant community are afraid to come forward to police.
“There are protections in place and they know this. If you’re the victim of a crime or a witness to a crime, even if you’re in this county illegally there are protections you,” he said.
The sheriff compared the gang to terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS.