FBI, Md. authorities take on MS-13 with new nationwide tip line

U.S. Attorney for Maryland Robert Hur announces the nationwide tip line to combat MS-13. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

Law enforcement officials in Maryland have teamed up with the FBI as part of a nationwide effort to combat MS-13 that includes a new tip line aimed at gathering information about the violent gang.

The new tip line and a public service announcement encouraging community members and victims to come forward were unveiled Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney for Maryland Robert Hur stressed the importance of eradicating fear to better fight the gang.

“I understand that some victims and witnesses do not call law enforcement,” he said. “We want all Marylanders to know that we are working hard to defeat the gang, and we are succeeding.”

The tip line allows callers to share information about MS-13 gang activities with a central location. The FBI will then disseminate those tips to other law enforcement officials to investigate, officials said.

The Spanish-language public service announcement features a mother whose son was murdered by MS-13. She explains the help she received from the FBI, all while remaining anonymous.

Officials said they hope the video will show others the importance of coming forward and trusting law enforcement to protect the identity of victims.

In Montgomery County, police Chief Marcus Jones said efforts to curtail the gang’s violence have already been working. In the last two years, there haven’t been any MS-13 related homicides, he said. However, in the past, victims have been found buried in shallow graves throughout the county, sparking fear in some communities.

“It’s why we have stepped up our gang enforcement and are looking at investigations from a federal standpoint in order to have some success and eliminate that,” he said.

Jennifer Boone, FBI special agent in charge in Baltimore, said the goal is to end fear in all communities and enlist residents as the eyes and ears.

“We are most successful when we collaborate and work together,” she added. “We also encourage parents, family members and friends to talk to their children about the dangers of joining this violent gang.”

Callers can reach the tip line at 1-866-STP-MS13 or 1-866-787-6713. The identity of callers will be protected.

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