SAN JOSE, Calif. (KABC) -- A federal grand jury indicted 12 alleged gang members in Northern California for a broad range of racketeering crimes, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday.
The charges brought against the alleged members of the MS-13 gang include murder, arson, extortion by force and drug trafficking.
"MS-13 has presented a violent threat in the Santa Cruz area for years," U.S. Attorney Alex Tse said. "The gang targeted many, including other immigrants from El Salvador, and they instilled fear in everyone who experienced or witnessed their brutality."
According to the indictment, the defendants engaged in racketeering for the purpose of preserving the power, territory, reputation and profits of the MS-13 gang.
The indictment describes how members of MS-13 met regularly to discuss disciplining members, planning crimes and extorting property from drug dealers in Santa Cruz by threatening violence against them or those close to them.