LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A Guatemalan citizen suspected of being an MS-13 gang member remains in federal custody after being arrested on July 20 by U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Lake Charles station, said Rhonda M. Lawson, Public Affairs Specialist with the Department of Homeland Security.
The Lake Charles Police Department was conducting a traffic stop on I-10 near Lake Charles. USBP agents assisted. Lawson said, during the stop, they discovered all five occupants of the vehicle were illegal immigrants. She said Jose Escobar-Monterroso, 34, was identified as a member of the Mara Slavatrucha (MS-13) gang.
Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, is an international criminal gang that originated in Los Angeles, California, in the 1970s and 1980s.
Monterroso is currently in federal custody, pending an immigration hearing for violation of 8 USC 1325 illegal entry into the United States, Lawson said.
“The MS-13 gang problem in our country is serious, and I am proud of both the Lake Charles Police Department and our Border Patrol agents, who were very perceptive in identifying, then arresting this reprehensible gang member before any of our citizens were harmed,” New Orleans Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gregory Bovino, said.