Last month, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat received a threat from the gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13 as its commonly known.
He was the third threat on a New York elected official that week, according to published reports. Espaillat received a postcard which said “Love the 13th District.”
“I’m not going to make any comment on that only to say that law enforcement is looking at that and we’ll see whether or not there was any truth to that or a hoax,” Espaillat said just before he took to the stage to address Lehman College students at the school’s 48th annual Herbert H. Lehman Memorial Lecture. He declined to comment further on what might have prompted the message.
The FBI website says MS-13 operates out of at least 42 states and the District of Columbia, and could have as many as 10,000 members who have committed crimes ranging from assaults to homicides using firearms, machetes or blunt objects to intimidate rival gangs, law enforcement and the general public.
Members are mostly Salvadoran nationals or first generation Salvadoran-Americans.
The gang is considered one of the most dangerous in America. In 2012, it became the first and only gang to be called a “transnational criminal organization.” In 2004, the FBI started a MS-13 National Gang Task Force, according to published reports.
Other elected officials receiving threats that week included state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who received calls from a homeless woman demanding housing assistance and phoned in a threat.
Someone else posted a message about state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. on Twitter saying his “death can’t come soon enough,” according to published reports.